Friday, February 13, 2009

SuperPhillip's Top Ten Video Game Soundtracks of 2008

Hey, all. Happy beginning of the weekend to you all. I'm wrapping up the week with a brand-new top ten. Tonight we're going to take a look.. er, listen, to the top ten video game soundtracks of 2008 as judged by yours truly. You'll get to see my favorite soundtracks of the year, get a little explanation of each choice, and hear some cool selections from each soundtrack.

10) Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (PSP)


Taking an alternative approach to Final Fantasy music, there's a myraid of techno, rock, and trance tracks all throughout the Crisis Core soundtrack including several remixes of Final Fantasy VII tracks. Of course by this moment in time, I think One-Winged Angel has been redone to death, and nothing can surpass the Advent Children version.


9) Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (DS)


Michuru Yamane has been the go-to girl/composer of Koji Igarashi's Castlevania franchise for a decade or so now, and she hasn't lost a step since. Order of Ecclesia is her latest tour de ass-kicking with beautiful melodies as heard in Azure Wanderings and her adrenaline-pumping tracks like Dusk's Holy Mark. It's also an opportune moment to mention her phenomenal remixes in Castlevania Judgment for Wii.


8) Sonic Unleashed (Wii, 360, PS3, PS2)


While a lot of this soundtrack is fantastic, there certainly are plenty of tracks that are ho-hum. Regardless, the songs that are notable are beyond awesome. Tomoya Ohtani, Takahito Eguchi, Mariko Nanba, Fumie Kumatani, and Hideaki Kobayashi (all of which who have worked on past Sonic Team games such as past Sonic games, Phantasy Star Online, and more) all did a magnificent job with yet another Sonic soundtrack.


7) Mario Kart Wii (Wii)


While not a perfect kart-racing experience, Mario Kart Wii is a fantastic entry into the series with a great amount of content, cool characters, and wonderfully-designed courses. The soundtrack is no exception either. Seldom has there been a Mario Kart with a mediocre soundtrack (I didn't care for Mario Kart DS), and the greatness continues with Mario Kart Wii. Upbeat and catchy, the music of Mario Kart Wii earns this soundtrack the number seven spot.


6) LittleBigPlanet (PS3)


This is the only game on this list that includes music from licensed artists. They're lesser known artists, but licensed all the same. There's an ample amount and variety of tunes to fit any level an aspiring designer wishes to create. Throw in some "Volver a comenzar" for a latin flavor, or opt to include Alexander Nevsky's "Battle on the Ice" for a touch of latin chanting!



5) The World Ends With You (DS)

The World Ends With You has an eclectic mix of music. You have your usual instrumental themes occasionally, but the vocal tracks lead the march including Japanese pop, hip-hop, rock, and rap. Most of which is in Japanese with some English tracks, but that is quite alright. The lyrics are just the icing on the cake. For me personally, the actual music and melody are what I take from the listening experience. If I cared about the words, I'd probably read poetry!


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


Without a doubt, I award Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon with the best game with remastered and remixed Final Fantasy tunes. It even beats out the upcoming Dissidia game which I feel has weaker arrangements. Listening to the full sounds of the various songs sent shivers up my spine the first time I heard them in-game. It really is a terrific soundtrack, and I do hope more people get the chance to play this fabulous game!

3) Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (360)


It only took ten years, but now the many themes of the Banjo-Kazooie universe can be heard in full, glorious orchestral sound! Yes, there are plenty of recognizable themes returning such as Grunty's, Mumbo's Garage, Click Clock Wood, Hailfire Peaks, Freezeey Peak, and so forth, but the original songs are top of the line, too!


2) Wario Land: Shake It! (Wii)


Even though synthesized sounds are used for every instrument, it doesn't deter from making this soundtrack runner-up. The songs are relentlessly catchy, fun to listen to, and difficult to resist humming and/or bobbing your head to. Just listen to the examples given, and if you're like me, you'll be hard-pressed to not want to listen to more!


1) Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)


I took *some* flak awarding Super Smash Bros. Brawl with Best Original Soundtrack of 2008. However, as I stated in the introduction of the category, "original" was defined as anything that was not licensed such as a Tony Hawk game or even LittleBigPlanet. Regardless, the amount of music contained in this soundtrack is unbelievable, and the consistent quality is even more astounding. There's no doubt that a soundtrack like this is monumental, so why not have it as 2008's best soundtrack?


Feedback Time!

Did you like this article? Do you agree/disagree with some/all of my picks? Let me know in the comments below! Talk to you soon!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

January NPD Results - A Duo of DS Games Return

PlayStation 2 101.2K
PlayStation 3 203.2K
PSP 172.3K
Xbox 360 309K
Wii 679.2K
Nintendo DS 510.8K

WII FIT (WII) 777K
WII PLAY W/ REMOTE (WII) 415K
MARIO KART W/WHEEL (WII) 292K
LEFT 4 DEAD (360) 243K
CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR* (360) 235K
SKATE 2 (360) 199K
GUITAR HERO WORLD TOUR* (WII) 155K
NEW SUPER MARIO BROS (DS) 135K
MARIO KART DS (DS )132K
LORD OF THE RINGS: CONQUEST (360) 113K

(*includes CE, GOTY editions, bundles, etc. but not those bundled with hardware)

Most surprising to me was the resurgence of New Super Mario Bros after all of this time. Now NSMB joins Mario Kart DS as a DS game returning to the top ten from seemingly nowhere!

Numbers are via the NPD and posted on NeoGAF. All sales are limited to the United States only.

Affiliate Bulletin - February

It's been awhile, and I very much apologize for that. Regardless, I'd love to take this Thursday morning to take a look at the activities of SPC's various affiliates. I really enjoy the community our blogs share, and I greatly appreciate each site's affiliation with my small blog. It was beyond kind of them to do so.

One Duck's Opinion

Mr. Psychoduck latest rant (no, that's not all the good quacker does on his entertaining and engaging blog!) talks about time-limited demos. At first I thought he was talking about demos that are only available to download for a limited time, but after actually reading the first sentence (that worked wonders), it's actually about demos that automatically end after a set period of time. "Ooh.. Where does this door lead t- What. Demo over?! NOOOOOOOOO!!!" I can greatly sympathize with that rant, and I'm sure plenty of other gamers do, too! Check out his thoughts here.

World 1-1

World 1-1 has a slew of new content. The most recent is a very helpful article. Have you been keeping up with February's releases for Nintendo consoles? If not, you're missing out on a fantastic month for both platforms! Never fear. World 1-1 has all of the most notable titles, so your lucky soul is covered! You can view the list here.

Additionally, if you have an inner rocker inside of you, you can let him or her out by visiting this article regarding the pros and cons of the big two music games, Rock Band and Guitar Hero.

I've Never Liked Your SpinachPuffs

My good friend SpinachPuffs has two-- count 'em-- two new reviews in the past week or so. He's making me look bad on purpose! You can check out these extremely thorough and informative reviews on Animal Crossing: City Folk A.K.A. Let's Go to the City and 100 Classic Book Collection. Hm.. SuperPhillip... SpinachPuffs...

Charge Shot!!!

I was going to end every sentence in this section with three exclaimation points, but I've already used that bit anyway. Such recent articles include a short article stating that perhaps Mega Man 3 was the beginning of Capcom's desire to send development of the series into hyperdrive, and a tremendous piece offering an explanation as to why gamers not already into the Dragon Quest series should give it a chance. All he is saying... is give Dragon Quest a chance...

Everyview

Everyview weighs in with too many notable articles to even count! There's reviews of CDs such as Marcy Playground Self-Titled Album and Motley Crue's Saints of Los Angeles, the book The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy, and a review to get your buzz on (or not) with Deton8 Energy Drink. Pace yourselves, kiddies. There's a lot of material to cover for the exam tomorrow!

Also, don't forget to check out these other affiliates, too!

- An active Animal Crossing community

- Just starting out. Shows great promise for such a busy guy!

Temple of Andrex - Homepage of the amazing internet personality.

P.S. If you'd like to affiliate with me, please send me an e-mail at superphillip32@hotmail.com
I'd love to have you, and I'd love to share your articles with various readers that come to SuperPhillip Central!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gaming's Guilty Pleasures

I had the idea for this story a month or so ago, and it's by no means an original idea at all. I remembered it when I saw a thread on NeoGAF regarding the same issue: Guilty pleasures in gaming. These can be games that aren't very polished or good for that matter that you just can't get enough of, a game with subject matter that's immature despite the Mature rating slapped on the box that you can't help but enjoy, or mini-games, events, parts of a game that you know you shouldn't love but do anyway. The following is a glimpse at some examples of games and portions in games that brought a devilish grin to my heavenly face.

God of War (PS2) - Making a Sacrifice
(MINOR GAMEPLAY SPOILER)




The first time I played through this part of the game, I was very surprised/disturbed to see that to proceed I would have to sacrifice a living human soldier, pushing his cell closer and closer to his death. It didn't help my conscience that the guy was screaming and begging for his life so sincerely either. God of War succeeded in getting an emotion out of me. After several playthroughs of this fantastic and grandiose adventure, sacrificing the guard was more fun than anything. By the third time, stupid here finally realized that the dude I was killing was Raphael from the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. Take that for being rude but crude, you jerk!


Dead Space (PS3, 360, PC) - Destroying Enemy Limbs/Getting Torn Apart (GRAPHIC CONTENT)



Dead Space is one of my favorite games of 2008. Just a terrific, well-polished game. Something I really enjoyed was the visceral violence of the game. Shooting off limbs was the way to kill the majority of the macabre creatures. You could even stomp their limbs as their corpses lay on the ground, crushing them in a beautiful display of bloodshed. Additionally, having the main character himself get dismantled limb by limb by a terrifying monstrosity is also a joy to see pending you're expecting it. For anyone who's watched a compilation of Leon's deaths in Resident Evil 4 knows what I'm talking about.


Animal Crossing Series (Wii, DS, GCN) - Un-neighborly Behavior


I think most of us who have played a version of Animal Crossing has decided to intentionally attempt to anger one of our residents. Be it by hitting them repeatedly with a net, pushing them around the town until they burst with rage, and sending them hateful letters wishing them dead, hoping they become slowly tortured, and when they finally die they can see their own heart beating after it's been ripped out from their chest...

...

What? That CAN'T just be me.

She didn't even do anything wrong for Pete's sake!

The Sims (PC) - Simicide


While we're on the subject of being mean to AI people, let's go a step further-- death! You place a sim inside a room with no walls in total isolation. Want to eat? Tough. Want to use the toilet? Tough. Go in your pants. Slowly they become famished, but steadily it leads to their deaths. If you lack the patience for such a task, why not start a fire and give your sims no chance for escape? For instance, I'd love to send the happily married couple, Steven Spielberg and Shia Lebeouf (since Spielberg has a man crush obviously for him as he puts him in every freaking movie possible even though to me, he sucks as an actor completely), into a house and somehow destroy it. Hm... After giving this some thought, perhaps I have some psychological issues... Nah, I'm just kidding.

Sonic Heroes (PS2, GCN, XBOX, PC)


I just don't see the next two games in the same light as some people. Some think Sonic Heroes is just god-awful. I couldn't disagree more. No, it was until the 2006 abomination, Sonic the Hedgehog, that my interest in the series really waned. In Sonic Heroes I loved the upbeat music, the colorful levels, the traditional Act 1, Act 2, Boss formula, and I enjoyed the triple team mechanic. I played the game to 100% completion, but I would say that several glitches as well as playing the same levels over four times with small variants got a bit repetitive. Regardless, Sonic Heroes is a game I overall enjoyed.

Shadow the Hedgehog (PS2, GCN, XBOX)


I could definitely have done without the extremely corny "gritty" take on the hedgehog universe. The guns were okay actually because that meant I didn't have to deal directly with most enemies. In other Sonic games, sometimes a homing attack would be my own undoing. Again, I liked the soundtrack, and I loved the structure-- having multiple paths (you could beat a level the hero way or the dark way which would send you to different levels according to which side you chose) and multiple endings. Shadow the Hedgehog as a character though is somewhat unappealing to me and most fans. Regardless though, you can bet your life that Sonic Team will ignore the vocal hatred and pretend it doesn't exist, so no worries, gang!

Saints Row Series (PS3, 360, PC)


The Saints Row series isn't generally classified as a bad or mediocre franchise. The guilty pleasures come from the sheer juvenile story, writing, and activities. If there was ever a misnomer for the Mature ESRB rating, this series is it. What else can you say for an optional line of missions where the goal is to spray as much raw sewage and human waste on property and people as possible? That notwithstanding, it's still a blast to do. I know, I'm a hypocrite, but I don't pretend it's mature at least!

Wii Music (Wii)



Only in message board circles is this really a guilty pleasure. I have successfully helped to kill gaming as well as Richard Karn's career. In reality, it truly is not a horrible game at all. Chalk it up to poor presentation by Nintendo of America, who is quickly become more and more of an annoyance since the 2nd half of 2008, for ruining the image of this game. Wii Music is fantastic fun with friends, and also alone-- building unique interpretations of the game's songs. Check out the above video to see what I mean by the creativity.

Direct Link Here

No worries, SPC readers. I have plenty more guilty pleasures to share for another installment some time in the near future. Goodness, I'm going to have to go to a confessional, aren't I? Stay tuned for tomorrow night as I have something special planned. Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

LittleBigWorkshop Shows How to Create Survival Challenges in LittleBigPlanet

And guess who is mentioned!!! If you said "SuperPhillip", you are absolutely incorrect. Regardless, this is a very informative and inspirational tutorial video showcasing how Media Molecule created the various survival challenges in LittleBigPlanet. Stay tuned in the future for some of my own attempts at creating survival challenges!

Monday, February 9, 2009

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Mega Man Mania Edition

Welcome to another week of five terrific tracks from various video games! If you're just checking in, last week we started our look and listen to the classic Mega Man franchise with Mega Man 1-5. Now we'll conclude the classic series with Mega Man 6-9 and a special bonus track from the 20th Anniversary Rock Arrange Mega Man soundtrack! If you'd like to check out last week's tracks, here is Part 1 of 2 for your viewing and listening pleasure!

Now we enter what I consider to be the black sheep of the Mega Man franchise, Mega Man 6. The game came out near the very end of the original Nintendo's life when many people had moved onto the 16-bit systems. Mega Man 6 is still a good game utilizing the true power of the NES. The environments and enemies are detailed like no other 8-bit Mega Man game. Our song from this game comes from Blizzard Man's stage.



Continuing the ice elemental boss trend, we have Freeze Man's Stage, an area littered with icebergs. This comes from Mega Man 7 for the Super Nintendo. This game was radically different from the NES titles as Mega Man had a much larger sprite which took up more of the game screen than usual. This meant levels were more tight, less expansive than before. I loved it the same nonetheless. Save for that bastard last boss.



Completing this trilogy of ice Robot Masters, we have Frost Man from Mega Man 8 where "Jump, Jump!" and "Slide, Slide!" became fixtures of a MM8 player's mind. This is the Playstation version of the track.



My verdict is still out on Mega Man 9. I'm somewhat of an audiophile, so 8-bit music just doesn't do it for me anymore. It's sort of like a lesser case of HD system owners who can't go back to SD systems like Wii and the like. Additionally, the game seemed much more difficult than any of the NES games. There was a much greater emphasis on one-hit kills which was just lame to me. Anyway, this track comes from Concrete Man's stage.



This awesome rock medley of boss themes from Mega Man 1-6 comes from the special 20th Anniversary Rockman 1-6 Rock Arrange album. My favorite part of the medley comes at 3:00. Simply put-- it rocks.



Direct Linkage:

Blizzard Man Stage
Freeze Man Stage
Frost Man Stage
Concrete Man Stage
Boss Mix Medley

That wraps up another week of SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs. Next week we're heading out to hear some sounds from the Mushroom Kingdom. See you then!

Dead Rising 2 is Officially Announced (PS3, 360, PC)


THE DEAD WALK AGAIN AS CAPCOM CONFIRMS DEAD RISINGTM 2

Sequel to 1.5 million-plus seller announced for multiple gaming platforms
London – February 9, 2009 - Capcom®, a leading worldwide developer and publisher of video games, today confirmed that Dead Rising™ 2 is in development for three different gaming platforms: the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Sony Computer Entertainment’s PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™) and the PC. The sequel to the 1.5 million-plus selling Dead Rising™, Dead Rising 2 will take the franchise to a new level of zombie-killing fun with tens of thousands of zombies, the all new gambling paradise of Fortune City to explore and conquer plus a host of new in-game objects that can all be used as deadly weapons to stave off the zombie assault.

Dead Rising 2 is set several years after the infamous zombie invasion of Willamette. Unfortunately, the zombie virus was not contained at the conclusion of Dead Rising, spreading unchecked throughout the United States and Dead Rising 2 depicts a country where zombie outbreaks continue to strike.

Dead Rising 2 is being developed in partnership with up and coming Canadian developer Blue Castle Games. A number of members from the original Dead Rising team will be working alongside Blue Castle Games throughout the development process, including Capcom’s global head of research and development, Keiji Inafune, who as the game’s Producer will play an active role in the project.

Released in 2006, Dead Rising won praise across the globe for its mix of intense zombie action and dark humour, garnering numerous awards including IGN’s “Most Innovative Design for Xbox 360”, Gamespot’s “Best Action-Adventure Game” for 2006 and “Action Game of the Year” at the 2006 Spike TV Video Game Awards.

Further details concerning the story and gameplay of Dead Rising 2 will be made available shortly.


ABOUT CAPCOM
Capcom is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment for game consoles, PCs, handheld and wireless devices. Founded in 1983, the company has created hundreds of games, including best-selling franchises Resident Evil, Street Fighter, Mega Man and Devil May Cry. Capcom maintains operations in the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Tokyo Korea and Hong Kong, with corporate headquarters located in Osaka, Japan. More information about Capcom can be found on the company web site, www.capcom.com.
###

Capcom, Mega Man, Resident Evil, and Devil May Cry are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Capcom Co., Ltd., in the U.S. or other countries. Dark Void and Street Fighter are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Capcom U.S.A., Inc. “All other marks are the property of their respective owners.


ABOUT BLUE CASTLE GAMES
Blue Castle Games is a full service 3rd party developer located in Vancouver, Canada. Formed in 2005, Blue Castle fulfilled a desire to start a company where creativity, experience and hard work come together to create outstanding games. Blue Castle’s highly experienced teams provide predictable development cycles, stable multiplatform development and the highest levels of quality. More information can be found on the company website, www.bluecastlegames.com.



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