Friday, September 23, 2011

Kirby Mass Attack (DS) Review

The end of the work week approaches, and with that comes a totally new review here on SuperPhillip Central. It's for a game that launched this past Monday, and it stars everyone's favorite pink puffball, Kirby. It's Kirby Mass Attack where according to Nintendo, "More Kirbys Mean More Power." Let's find out if more Kirbys mean a better game with my review.

Mass Effect


Kirby has for the longest time been Nintendo's guinea pig when it comes to fresh gameplay ideas. He's been put into a golf game as the actual golf ball, has been tilted and tumbled, raced on a warp star, been a part of a collection of games in Kirby Super Star, and turned to yarn. Now HAL, the developer, is breaking up our cute and cuddly hero into multiple Kirbys in Kirby Mass Attack. Are ten Kirbys better than one?

Everything seems to be going well for Kirby. He's chilling and relaxing on a calm, serene island when suddenly a dark skeleton demon lowers from the sky. The creepy creature's name is Necrodeus. He uses a magical cane to zap Kirby, splitting the ball of charm into ten separate heroes. Exiling each away, one Kirby is left to his lonesome, and not being powerful enough to stand up to Necrodeus's magic, Kirby has no choice but to flee to safety via warp star. Now our hero must gather as many Kirbys as possible to take back the mystical cane and turn himself whole once again. Still-panel cutscenes are the call of the day for Kirby Mass Attack's story. The top screen shows the scene while the bottom illustrates the text. The simplistic story won't win any awards for creativity, but it is enough to motivate the player into assuming the role of Kirby.

Kirby Mass Attack is split up between five worlds. These are themed in mysterious forests, frozen fjords, volcanic valleys, tropical resorts, outer space, and dusty deserts, to name a small sample of level types. Each world has ten or more levels apiece in them except the final world which is just made up of five levels. Each level has a Kirby requirement. That is, you need enough Kirbys to access a given level. As you complete certain levels, Kirby is allowed to enter a ring of levels closer to the center of the world where the boss of the world slumbers.

In order to be able to reach levels with higher Kirby requirements, our hero must gather more copies of himself. How does he do this? By collecting and gobbling up fruit. Fruit is all over the place in Kirby Mass Attack, dropped by enemies, suspended in the air, and lying in hidden locations. Each time the gauge on the top screen reaches 100, a new Kirby will enter the fray. Up to ten Kirbys can be on screen and controlled at the same time. Once all ten Kirbys have arrived on screen, every time the gauge reaches 100, 10,000 bonus points will be added to the player's score in the level. Depending on the fruit eaten, the gauge will increase by varying amounts. For instance, while a red apple will only make the gauge rise by one, a banana will increase it by ten. Kirby's favorite, Maxim Tomatoes, will up the gauge by 100, easily awarding the player with a new Kirby.

If and when a Kirby takes damage, he'll turn a shade of light blue. If he gets damaged again (or crushed by an object), he'll turn gray, grow angel wings, and slowly ascend to the sky. This is the player's cue to quickly use another Kirby to grab the dying Kirby before it can reach the top of the screen. In the various levels there are healing rings that players can move hurt Kirbys into to fully heal them back to normal pink status. However, players looking for a challenge can try earning gold, silver, or bronze stars on levels by not taking damage or having zero K.O.'d Kirbys. Trying to achieve a gold star by not having any of your Kirbys taking damage is seriously difficult on later levels, frustratingly so, even. Lose all of your Kirbys or when underwater run out of air, and it's game over. As there are zero checkpoints in a given level and seeing as levels last anywhere from five to twenty minutes long, this can be potentially irritating to some players as one must begin at the very start of the level.

As the back of the North American box implies, "More Kirbys, More Power." This definitely rings true. Taking down enemies by having a swarm of ten Kirbys works much more efficiently than just having one or two attacking a foe. With one or two, a larger opponent can simply shake the Kirbys off the baddy's body. With ten Kirbys this task is much harder to accomplish. There's also certain platforms that can only be lowered with the weight of ten Kirbys and objects that can only be pulled with the strength of ten Kirbys.

Kirby Mass Attack is controlled solely with the Nintendo DS's stylus. You tap an area of the bottom screen to have your army of Kirbys walk to it. Double tap repeatedly on a portion of the screen to have them make a mad dash. You can make a flicking motion to have your beautiful brigade leap upwards, leftwards, rightwards, or downwards, smashing into breakable blocks and enemies. Hold the stylus over your group to wrangle your Kirbys and draw a line to have them follow. They can, for a limited time, float in the air as you guide them with the stylus to higher areas that would otherwise be unreachable. When your Kirbys approach an enemy they will automatically attach to them and start whacking away. This can be annoying when you just want to speed through a level. You have to ferociously tap the screen to sic them off the foe. Trying to assemble a group of ten Kirbys is also a challenge. Some will stay back unintentionally (maybe trapped behind a block) when you want nothing more than to have them follow your taps on the touch screen. These problems aside, the game is still a blast to play when everything is running on full cylinders.

The level variety in Kirby's latest portable outing is immense. One level will have you trying not to topple over a teetering tower that shifts its weight depending on where your Kirby army is situated on it while another will have you tracking down nine pieces of a puzzle that turns into a spaceship once completed. There's a level where you operate a tank that automatically crawls. Tap and release the screen to shoot out Kirbys at assaulting enemies that wish to demolish your vehicle. Additionally, there's a pinball stage, a haunted mansion where the lights flicker on and off, usually obstructing your view of hidden dangers, and a level where you're relentlessly being chased by a shadow demon or ice creature. Most levels end with a mini-boss battle where a bird might drop thorny balls at you or a spiked sand worm will rise and lower from the ground and ceiling.

Each world also concludes with a boss battle. These are highly creative and enjoyable to play. The first battle against Wispy Woods, a giant tree with an adorable mug, has you flicking Kirbys into its aforementioned face. It then rises higher into the air while dropping spiked orbs from its branches that the Kirbys must dodge. Another boss is World Three's King Dedede who rides in a hot air balloon. He drops ticking time bombs down below at your cavalcade of Kirbys. To defeat him, players must flick the Kirbys up into the bubble-surrounded bombs to have them explode when they're up in the top screen near King Dedede to do some serious damage. There's five major boss encounters, and each one is as entertaining as the last.

Regardless, simply moving through each level to get to the goal isn't enough in Kirby Mass Attack. To reach the final world, players must gather each and every rainbow medal in the game. Medals are well-hidden tokens which unlock goodies in the Extras menu. There's usually three or five medals in a given level. These are oftentimes placed in precarious locations, out of sight by normal players, and others give the player only a short amount of time to grab them. Normally, when there's a platform or object that requires ten Kirbys to move it out of the way, there's a good chance there's a medal awaiting them. Perhaps something great will happen when all 186 medals are gathered... Nonetheless, collecting all 186 medals and beating the game took me around sixteen hours to accomplish. Seeing as there's three save spots, multiple people can play on the same copy of the game.

As stated before, medals unlock new content in the Extras menu. These range from the ability to listen to in-game music to magnificent mini-games like Kirby Brawlball which is a take on classic pinball tables. This mini-game features all the luxuries of a typical pinball cabinet with Kirby flair added including boss battles against enemies of Kirby games past. Then there's Kirby Curtain Call, a memory mini-game, Dash Course (where players tap the correct symbols to advance Kirby through a linear path), a shoot-em-up known as Stato Patrol EOS with six levels to blaze through, an RPG known as Kirby Quest, and much, much more. These mini-games could be full-fledged games to themselves and add to the already tremendous replay value Kirby Mass Attack offers players.

Aside from collecting medals and rainbow medals, there's a checklist. Think of this as achievements or trophies. They are tasks that unlock once an objective has been completed. These range from things such as collecting all the fruit in a level to not taking damage to having all ten Kirbys alive by the conclusion of a level. There's over thirty tasks and five pages' worth of material to complete on the checklist. This gives the player even more stuff to accomplish in this already meaty video game.

Mass Attack is a game full of charm. From the cutesy and colorful pastel visuals to the Shogo Sakai-composed soundtrack which unites new content with old (remixed music from Super Star and Kirby Air Ride, for example), Kirby Mass Attack's presentation is splendid. Some of the music is intentionally made to be tinny like it came from the speakers of a Game Boy. Kirby himself animates wonderfully, and all of the enemies and bosses have enough variety to avoid repetition. Did I mention that the game runs at a silky smooth framerate as well? If not, I just did. Hopefully Kirby stays in 2D form for future installments as that is where he really shines.

Ultimately, Kirby Mass Attack is a brilliant combination of traditional Kirby and Pikmin-style gameplay. Sometimes there's some kinks and frustrations with controlling a myriad of Kirbys, but most often than not they do as you tell them. The intuitive touch screen controls are novel, and I cannot see how this game would have worked with anything other than a touch screen interface. The music is sensational, the graphics are clean, crisp, and colorful, and the amount of extras and hidden content is nothing short of incredible. Kirby Mass Attack is the type of platformer that players will have in their handhelds for weeks whether they're completing the main story or toying around with the numerous mini-games that are unlockable. Case in point, Kirby Mass Attack is one of the pink puffball's greatest portable adventures that DS owners should not skip out on.

[SuperPhillip Says: 8.75/10]

Sonic Generations (3DS) - Emerald Coast Screens

A new level has been revealed! It's the very first level that Dreamcast owners experienced when they purchased and played their copy of the original Sonic Adventure. This time around we see it in a 2D perspective. Take a gander at these all-new pictures showing off some of the gameplay elements of Emerald Coast including the infamous whale that stalks Sonic. Sonic Generations for the Nintendo 3DS is due out some time in November.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tetris Axis (3DS) New Trailer

Tetris is a puzzler that has seen a myriad of variations and versions. This Nintendo-published iteration with Mii and AR card support features a multitude of modes like Fever, Survival, Jigsaw, and Tower Climber, to name several. North American 3DS owners can get their puzzle on when Tetris Axis blockades store shelves on October 2nd.



Go Vacation (Wii) New Trailer

Go Vacation is coming to Wiis on October 11th. It has a suggested retail price of $39.99, and it's looking like a fun romp through mega metropolises, rugged mountains, and sandy beaches. There's fifty or so activities to try out as well as over 100 individual games to play from mini golf to surfing to skateboarding. Go Vacation has the makings of a sleeper hit. Take a glimpse at the newest trailer to see why I'm excited for this game.



SPC Quickies Volume Ten - 3DS Ambassador Edition Part Two

Two weeks ago we examined half of the Ambassador line of NES games Nintendo provided early adopters for the Nintendo 3DS. Today we conclude our examination of the ten NES titles with Volume Ten of the SPC Quickies. We have five more games to briefly review including Donkey Kong Jr., Ice Climber, Wrecking Crew, Balloon Fight, and Yoshi. Those who have no clue whatsoever as to how Quickies are reviewed, here's the scoring guidelines:

5 - Fantastic

4 - Great

3 - Fair

2 - Poor

1 - Awful


===

Donkey Kong Jr.


The roles have reversed! Mario has put Donkey Kong in a cage, and it's up to Donkey Kong Jr. to free the loveable ape. This game utilizes a four level cycle where players go through four levels until the entire rotation repeats itself over and over until the player loses all their lives. This junior-sized gorilla has new tricks in his repertoire including the ability to climb and swing on vines as well as drop fruit onto the heads of enemies. Sadly, the drop-two-feet-and-you-die clause is still here and in effect which makes for some frustrating gameplay. If you can stomach these problems, then Donkey Kong Jr. might be a decent replacement to the original Donkey Kong.

[SuperPhillip Says: 3/5]


Wrecking Crew


Mario takes up a demolition gig in the underrated Wrecking Crew. The object of Wrecking Crew is to obliterate everything from iron girders to ladders while avoiding the indestructible enemies that plague each single-screen room. To dodge these precarious foes, Mario must enter doors and change levels at the drop of a hat as these aforementioned foes can dish out major trouble in the form of fireballs. Enemies, too, can enter doors, and for a brief amount of time they will cast a harmless shadow in the background as they move to another location. After everything that can be destroyed has been eviscerated, Mario moves onto the next stage. Addicting as it is puzzling, Wrecking Crew is a welcomed addition to the lineup of NES Ambassador classics.

[SuperPhillip Says: 4/5]


Ice Climber


Traverse your way up thirty-two different mountains in Ice Climber. The goal of the game is to use the heroic duo's hammers to chip away at the various blocks and enemies the game puts before the player. There's eight levels to ascend on each mountain, and each gets more challenging than the last. Then there's the baddies to watch out for from condors to sunglasses-wearing polar bears. The controls feel a little slippery and take getting used to, but that's to be expected from a game where you're sliding around on ice. The game can get a bit repetitive and monotonous after a while, but those who persevere will find an enjoyable game in Ice Climber.

[SuperPhillip Says: 3/5]


Balloon Fight


Balloon Fight is an entertaining enough game where players must travel around a single screen, popping the balloons of enemies, sending them to the shark-infested waters below. Just don't fly to close to the sea yourself, or you'll get bit! Enemies who don't fall in the water and arrive on land can blow back up their lost balloons, coming back stronger than ever. Competing for high scores is the main attraction here, and Balloon Fight is an engaging romp. Everything from the simplistic visuals against a night sky to the catchy main theme, Balloon Fight is a decent game for those interested.

[SuperPhillip Says: 3/5]


Yoshi


This puzzler was one of the first introductions of everyone's favorite ride-able dinosaur, Yoshi. The titular character needs Mario's help to match two enemies of the same type to clear them away and score points. Sometimes the bottom of an egg will fall into place. Only the top half will fit and clear that away for points, too. Yoshi is a puzzle game that is as simple as it gets. There's really little depth to be had, but if you have a little free time to spare, you can get a game of Yoshi in whether you're riding the bus, train, or subway to work or just biding time for class. Regardless, Tetris and Planet Puzzle League this game is not. It's just too simple for my liking.

[SuperPhillip Says: 2/5]


We're all finished with our viewing of Nintendo's NES Ambassador offerings. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for another installment of the SPC Quickies!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

SPC Mailbag - September 21st, 2011

Let's pull out the ol' SPC Mailbag and answer some of your most thought-provoking questions. I try to answer a decent variety of queries to make things interesting, so I hope you enjoy today's offering of e-mails and questions. Today we have another trio of questions that I was forced to wrap my brain around, and here are the answers.

What happened to SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs? Did you give up on that?

In a way, yes. You see, I uploaded some music that was copyrighted by a third-party, and it was taken down. After three strikes, you are out, and my account was suspended and then banned. It doesn't really bother me though as it was too much work uploaded videos, adding explanations to them, and then posting them on SuperPhillip Central. Now when you try to access a video of mine that I uploaded, you'll receive a message saying "this user has been banned for multiple ToS violations" or something to that effect. Hope that clears everything up, and I apologize for not being forthcoming with that information.

Who do you see prevailing in the upcoming handheld war-- the Nintendo 3DS or the PlayStation Vita?

Good question. It's also a toughie. Before the Tokyo Game Show I would have answered the PS Vita. That was until I saw that most of the games being pushed were remakes or ports. Ironically, this is the same problem some people had with the 3DS, and it's even more so a problem with the Vita. Additionally, Nintendo will always sell their main properties (Mario, Zelda, Kirby, Metroid, and Pokemon, for starters) to children and the mainstream gamer. I don't see smartphones taking away marketshare from either portable like some misguided souls say. Anyway, that isn't to say that all Vita titles are ports or remakes. I'm quite interested in Hot Shots Golf 6, the new Resistance, Gravity Daze, among other titles.

It was a tough choice, but my vote goes to the Nintendo 3DS.

Now I don't know about you, but I am getting tired of the constant doom and gloom articles coming from the industry towards both platforms, especially against the 3DS. Why would anyone want a company that develops and produces top-tier games to fail? These people are fanboys of the highest (lowest?) caliber. It's lazy and sensational journalism used solely to gain website traffic and hits. That is all. Nothing more, nothing less. Hope I answered your question well enough.

What was the point of your series of lists entitled "Top Five Reasons to Hate..."? Was your intention just to troll or what?

No, not at all. My intention towards these lists was to be objectionable. I have a soft spot for two of the three big console manufacturers, and I wanted to be fair and question some of their business practices and decisions. I didn't want to hold back any punches or suck up to these companies like so many shills in the industry do. If your favorite company was insulted by me (which wasn't my plan), then I am sorry, but I will not apologize for pointing out the flaws of each of the big three. I've said enough great and positive things about every company enough that people who frequent SuperPhillip Central should know that I am no troll or villain.

===

Time to close back up the SPC Mailbag. That was entertaining, was it not? If you have a question or comment that you're dying to have me dissect and answer, send me an e-mail at superphillip32[at]yahoo[dot]com. Obviously put a @ where [at] is and a . where [dot] is. This is to avoid bots spamming my inbox. Until next time, the SPC Mailbag says goodbye!

Fortune Street (Wii) - New Trailer

The upcoming Monopoly-inspired virtual board game of Fortune Street, using characters from both the Super Mario and Dragon Quest universes is coming to Wii on December 5th in North America. I still have no clue how the rules work, but darn it if it's not intriguing! One can't help but love the backgrounds from Bowser's Castle to Mario Circuit to World 1-1, there's something for everyone. I'm not up to date on the Dragon Quest series, so everything shown regarding that franchise is uncharted territory for me. Carouse this all-new trailer and let me know what you think of it.




Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rank Up! - God of War series

In 2005, Kratos ravaged and rampaged his way into the hearts of gamers both young and old. This past week the God of War Origins Collection (God of War: Chains of Olympus and God of War: Ghost of Sparta in HD) slashed and mashed its way onto the PlayStation 3. What better way to celebrate the HD ports of these terrific titles than a Rank Up! segment? For those not in the know, Rank Up! is where we list games in a series from least favorite to most favorite. Let's get started, shall we? First, let's see which games we'll be ranking:

God of War (PS2, PS3)
God of War II (PS2, PS3)

God of War III (PS3)

God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP, PS3)

God of War: Ghost of Sparta (PSP, PS3)


Kratos is a mightily angst-ridden character. He was tricked into slaying his wife and child by the former God of War, Ares. Exacting his revenge on him, Kratos then became the new God of War. However, Zeus and the gods plotted against him, stripping Kratos of his powers, and betrayed him in cold blood, sending him down to Hades (familiar territory to any God of War fan). The main trilogy concluded with Kratos getting the best of Zeus in one duel for the ages. Greek mythology was never this much fun!

5) God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP, PS3)


While nowhere near bad (actually it's quite good), the first portable God of War game had Kratos taking on monsters and men alike from the tyrannical Cerebus to other mythological beasts. Players swam, climbed, assaulted enemies with the titular Chains of Olympus, and brought forth Hades upon Kratos's foes. Vengeance is sweet, and God of War: Chains of Olympus is even sweeter. The only problem with this game is its brief length, though some longevity can come from playing on a higher difficulty level.

4) God of War: Ghost of Sparta (PSP, PS3)



The latest entry in the God of War franchise, Ghost of Sparta has Kratos searching for his long-lost brother who was taken from him when he was just a wee lad. The second PSP game is longer than the original, has multiple costumes to unlock, various goodies and treasure to grab, devious puzzles to wrap your brain around, and has incredible boss battles to partake in. Even with all of this, God of War: Ghost of Sparta is still only number four on this list. How can the series get even better?

3) God of War III (PS3)


For the first time the God of War was in high-definition, and boy, was it ever impressive! Who can forget fighting atop a humongous colossus, mashing buttons so our antihero doesn't get crushed between its enormous fingers? The set pieces were bigger and better, the action was more intense than ever, the puzzles were cleverer, and bosses like Hercules and Hades were challenges all to themselves. These chaotic showdowns are the meaning of the overused word of epic. The addition of trophies meant players would desire beating the game on the most difficult setting possible, find all of the minotaur horns, phoenix feathers, and gorgon eyes, and defeat the challenges that the gods place before them.

2) God of War (PS2, PS3)


I knew I was playing something magical and incredible when I impaled a Hydra's head on the mast of a rain-soaked ship. The first installment of this engaging series introduced the tragic life of Kratos who slayed his wife and child thanks to the tricks of the sinister Ares, the God of War. Everything about this game is polished except for one particular and infamous spot in Hades. Who doesn't hate the spinning spikes of doom? Regardless, exacting combos onto enemies, gaining blood to level up abilities and weapons, and brushing up on your Greek mythology were all excellent examples of why the original God of War is the series's second best.

1) God of War II (PS2, PS3)


Here we are with the number one entry on our list: God of War II. It's the game that took the problems of the original game and corrected them greatly. Zeus turns his back on the current God of War, Kratos, and betrays him. Now it's Kratos's duty and desire to exact revenge as only he can do. Who else would be so bold as to challenge the gods? Certainly not this superhero/blogger. From moving across an expansive chain in the sky to attacking a baddie with an axe and a wide temper, God of War II has the best puzzles, combat, and challenge of the series. There's little frustration. If you mess up, it's usually your own fault. Even the beginning of the game starts off with a bang as Kratos is closely and meticulously stalked by the Colossus of Rhodes throughout the opening level. Moments like these send chills down my spine even upon repeated play-throughs. This reason alone is why God of War II stands head and shoulders above other games in this illustrious and ultra-violent franchise.

===

Rank Up! wraps up for now. Do you agree with the order of games? Share your thoughts in the comments section as well as suggest a game series for a future installment of Rank Up!

Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney (3DS) TGS Trailer

The official trailer of Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney from the Tokyo Game Show has finally arisen from YouTube. Check it out below or click the direct link to view it from YouTube. It shows off the wonderful and stunning animations of all the characters in full three-dimensions. I can only imagine what the glasses-less 3D will look like when I get my grubby little paws on the game! No word on a Western release, but you can bet one is forthcoming.



Monday, September 19, 2011

Best Levels in Gaming History - Volume Five

We've reached the fifth installment of Best Levels in Gaming History, and I have five more of my favorite levels to share with the SPC community. Whether they have unforgettable set pieces, dynamic backgrounds, awesome design, or anything else you can think of, these levels shine high above the rest. If you missed out on a previous entry of this series, click on one of the following links:


7-6 Switcheroo - Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)


Part of world seven which is a factory-themed world, Switcheroo is an immensely challenging level where crossing over blue and red lights switches which colored blocks are thrust out from the background. Donkey and Diddy Kong must carefully navigate their way through this labyrinth of switches, climb and swing on vines, avoid touching the incorrect switches, and not get hit by enemies that want nothing more than to shock the pair. This level is especially difficult on a speed run where quick thinking saves the day. One must always be planning one step ahead or else they meet a bottomless pit as their fate. Thankfully, there's plenty of checkpoints so redoing portions of Switcheroo isn't too terribly frustrating.

Macbeth - The Forever Train - Star Fox 64 (N64)


"Detach the rear vehicle", "Step on the gas", and "No! Hit the brakes" are common lines heard by the villain who operates Andross's train which attempts to head to Venom's supply depot. It's up to Fox McCloud, piloting the Landmaster tank, to stop it. The first part of the level has Fox taking the train out from its right side. The train will unload a myriad of boulders to get in the Landmaster's way. A few charged shots and not only will you clear a path, but you'll also gain some valuable bonus points towards your total high score for the planet. The 150 enemy fighters downed acquirement is pretty easy to manage.

Soon the camera will shift upwards toward the sky. It's here where you'll see your wingmates of Falco Lombardi, Peppy Hare, and Slippy Toad dog-fighting against Andross's flying forces. You can feel free to help them as well. Next it's a line of boulders rolling towards Fox's machine. Either hover over them or blast them away to clear a path. If you haven't done so yet, take out the rear vehicles of the train or else it'll shoot bombs at the Landmaster.

Once the Landmaster drops down, it'll cross under and overpass. Falco will have a bogey on his tail. Quickly do away with this target, and the cocky bird will "thank" Fox in a way only Falco can. You'll then enter a tunnel where iron bars come from the walls. Hover over each set to avoid taking damage while destroying the back parts of the train. Following this is the checkpoint ring, and then you'll reach the fuel bunker on the right side which will fully heal any damage given to the Landmaster.

Peppy will then advise Fox to change all eight upcoming switches ahead to open the lock that changes the path of the train. These are located on both the right and left sides of the tracks. However, most of the switches are situated on the right portion of track. Did I mention you have to deal with the boss of the level, the flying machine Mechbeth, while doing this? If all eight switches are changed, a lock will pop up. Dodge Mechbeth's attacks, shoot the lock, and the train will change tracks, zooming straight into Venom's supply depot. A glorious series of explosions will occur, signaling the end of this supremely enjoyable mission. If you fail to shoot all eight switches or miss hitting the lock, you'll be forced to take out Mechbeth. Careful though as there is a time limit. Those who do not defeat the boss in a timely fashion will have it crash into the Landmaster, ultimately annihilating it.

Battle of Hoth - Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II (GCN)


This title still impresses graphically to this day. The compelling and adrenaline-pumping space and land battles still send chills up my spine. This is one of the quintessential Star Wars gaming experiences this side of the Battlefront series. Battle of Hoth is a tremendous example of this. Pilots begin by soaring straight through a snowy ravine until they arrive at ground zero where all the action is happening. The Rebels are fighting a losing war here, and it's up to assist them in evening the odds. For maximum kills, go after the soldiers on the ground leading up to the battle zone, take out the AT-STs, and then trip up the gargantuan AT-ATs by looping around their legs with a tow cable thrice.

Once all AT-ATs have been obliterated to pieces, switch vehicles to the X-Wing. Now your job is to protect the Rebel dropships from the Imperial Forces who wish nothing more than to destroy them. Multiple swarms of Tie Fighters jet around the battleground. Shoot as many down as possible until the signal is clear and the dropships can escape without worry. As soon as this task is finished, the Battle of Hoth has been won by the Rebels. Nonetheless, and as Star Wars enthusiasts know, the war is far, far from over.

Metal Harbor - Sonic Adventure 2/Sonic Adventure 2: Battle (DC, GCN)


Sonic's second level in Sonic Adventure 2, Metal Harbor is located nearby Prison Island. It's an industrial and military zone for G.U.N. forces, but Eggman's baddies have infiltrated and infested the beautiful backdrop. Sonic starts out by speeding through the twists and turns, loop-de-loops, and can grind on the rails for a faster time. Sonic eventually gets to a point in the level where he must carefully navigate across a watery grave. How does he do it? By homing attacking enemies conveniently hovering over the ocean. Sonic can opt to detour and grab a 1-up which also hangs over the crystal blue, serene waters.

As the fastest thing alive nears the conclusion of Metal Harbor, he reaches a rocket ship ready to launch. He must quickly jet up ramp after ramp, doing away with Eggman's badniks, and collecting rings. To get the maximum amount of points available, the blue blur must reach the top of the rocket before it launches. Otherwise, he must start anew at the last checkpoint he got to. Once Sonic rides the rocket, he lets go, skateboards through a vent duct of sorts, launches from a speed ramp, and hits the goal ring, thus completing this super-cool level.

Snowpeak Ruins - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii, GCN)


From the outside, Snowpeak Ruins looks like a glorious and majestic mansion situated over a wintery chasm and mountainside. Exploring inside and our hero Link finds out that this mansion isn't every thing it's cracked up to be. Monsters have inhabited the yeti couple's home, and Link must discover a way to relinquish them. From the slippery floors to the infamous block-pushing puzzles on solid ice to swinging from chandeliers, Snowpeak Ruins is a masterful, if not devious, dungeon.

The main treasure of this mansion is the powerful Ball and Chain weapon. With it, Link can hoist it over his head, clobber enemies, rock-hard icicles that were previously unbreakable, and reach sections of the dungeon that were originally unreachable. Just watch out for wolves, Ice Keese, and many more monsters. The boss, too, is no pushover. Thankfully, Link has the Ball and Chain to knock some sense back into the possessed female yeti who was overcome by the power of Twilight. As the evil spirit takes its final breath, it disappears, and peace is once again restored to Snowpeak Ruins.

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Wrapping up Volume Five, what levels are your favorites that haven't yet been mentioned on Best Levels in Gaming History? I've purposefully left out popular ones for future editions. Did I leave your most liked out? Let everyone know in our comments section.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

SuperPhillip's AR Card Screenshots

With the Nintendo 3DS, owners can use the accompanied AR (augmented reality) cards to take photos of their favorite Nintendo all-stars including Mario, Toon Link, Samus Aran, and a trio of Pikmin. You can even opt to gather a group of Miis and take pics. Direct your 3DS browser to check out these screens in full 3D! Take a glimpse of some sample work of mine and tell me what you think!

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