Friday, April 26, 2013

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS) Review

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon is darn close (if it isn't already) to becoming yet another Nintendo million-seller. In Japan the game has been dominating the sales charts, and in the U.S. it was on the NPD Top 10 for March, alongside such games as BioShock: Infinite and God of War: Ascension. Does it belong to be on a list with those titles? Let's find out with this review.

Bustin' Makes Luigi Feel Good


It was once unheard of to not see a Mario title release with a new Nintendo hardware launch. Now, we're basically accustomed to that with the Wii and Nintendo 3DS. Still, it was a shame that a traditional Mario title was nowhere to be found at the GameCube's launch in 2001. Instead, Nintendo opted to give Mario's then-often overlooked thinner brother Luigi some time in the spotlight. The game was Luigi's Mansion, something incredibly atypical as not just a Mario spin-off, but as a game in general. Sucking up ghosts was the name of the game (well, actually the name of the game was Luigi's Mansion, but you know what I mean), and the title received cult classic status among fans. More than a decade later and part of the Year of Luigi promotion, Luigi has returned to his ghost-busting ways with Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. The game was developed by Next Level Games, whose past successes with Nintendo include Mario Strikers: Charged and Punch-Out!!, both for Wii. Dark Moon is not only an excellent Nintendo 3DS exclusive, but it's also a superior game to its predecessor.

Evershade Valley is where Professor E. Gadd has been investigating ghosts. While the Dark Moon proudly shines in the night sky, the ghosts behave themselves well. However, when King Boo somehow returns from his painting imprisonment, he shatters the Dark Moon into six pieces which are strewn through the valley. The ghosts turn from kind, gentle, and rambunctious to wild, sinister, and unruly. With no one else to turn to, Professor E. Gadd summons a relaxing Luigi and tasks him with restoring the six pieces of the Dark Moon to bring back order to Evershade Valley.

Careful, Luigi. You don't want to end up
IN one of those graves!
This time around Luigi's isn't just exploring one large mansion. No, instead he'll be visiting a total of five unique mansions, each with their own theme, challenges, and obstacles. Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon forgoes the gameplay structure that its GameCube predecessor had gone. In this sequel, each mansion has its own set of missions with their own set of objectives to accomplish. Many missions will have you traversing through familiar rooms, areas, and past "haunts", but for the most part, you and Luigi will be venturing through uncharted territory with each mission.

Luigi should have brought a parka or something.
The different types of missions is pretty great, and this offers a nice sense of variety. One mission you'll be searching the rooms of Gloomy Manor to retrieve several gears that the resident ghosts have stolen. Another mission you will be following footprints of a doggone ghost dog who has swallowed a key that Luigi needs to progress further in the Haunted Towers mansion.

A Toad in need is a Toad indeed.
While the structure of the series has changed, the standard gameplay relatively remains the same. Luigi enters rooms and solves puzzles through using his various tools such as the Poltergust 5000, strobelight, and Dark Light device, a device which illuminates invisible-to-the-naked-eye objects. Just to give you a taste of what you can expect in Dark Moon, one puzzle requires Luigi to vacuum a bucket. The suction holds the bucket in place while Luigi can walk over to a fountain or other source of falling water and fill it up. Then he can saunter over to a sprout and splash water on it to make it grow. As puzzles are solved, usually the reward is a key to open a locked door somewhere within the mansion (the bottom screen is an invaluable tool to display map and objective information).

Luigi takes clearing the table to 
a whole 'nother level.
Other than keys, there is a bounty of treasure to be found in each mansion. Coins, dollar bills, and gold bars are hidden in clever places for Luigi to uncover. Perhaps you can suck up that poster on the wall to reveal a secret alcove where lots of treasure is held, or use the L button to have Luigi's Poltergust spray air, making a rug roll up, revealing even more coin-age. Outside of monetary treasure, there are a series of gems hidden in each mansion. These require some ingenuity to figure out how to find them, much more actually obtain them. In addition to gems as something optional to acquire, you can also find a hidden Boo, a longtime Mario series baddie, in each non-boss mission.

These suits of armor won't hold any prejudice
in slicing up unsuspecting plumbers!
However, solving puzzles isn't the only task that Luigi needs to complete in the game's five mansions. No, there's something called ghost-busting to do. And who you gonna call for that? Weegie, of course. With the Poltergust 5000 and a flashlight in hand, Luigi is pumped and primed to layeth the smacketh down on specters of all sizes. Most ghosts simply require you to flash them with the strobelight and then press R as they are dazed to enter a struggle to suck them up. Sucking up more than one ghost at a time is not only less difficult (you need not worry about being attacked by a straggler most of the time), but you also reap better rewards in the form of dropped loot.

Eek! Awkward...
When a ghost is dazed, the R button starts the struggle. The ghost fights for its life as it frantically scampers around the room. By holding the Circle Pad in the opposite direction the ghost is fleeing towards, the ghost's health drops and your Poltergust gauge builds. Once the A button is shown, you tap it to suck up the ghost or at least a significant percentage of their health. As you earn Poltergust upgrades, you can more easily nab those ghosts in a faster fashion.

Sometimes ghosts will hide behind objects, requiring you to figure out how to get behind them or make them drop the object they are hiding behind. There are also a myriad of ghost types: some that hide inside objects, popping out only to throw hazards at Luigi; some look like they've been using steroids all of their lives; and some spew slippery goo at Luigi to not only trip him up but damage him.

Sucking up more than one ghost simultaneously
is usually the best way of doing things.
Each mansion's final mission contains a boss of some kind. Whether it's a possessed spider (ew) or a giant suit of armor, each boss battle is essentially its own puzzle in how you go about defeating them. Some fights are better than others. For instance, the Secret Mine boss is one of the weakest, as it's focused on timing rather than thinking. While that one boss fight is disappointing, the others work really well and are mostly entertaining.

Playing through the solo mode of Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon will last most players anywhere between 10-15 hours for an initial run-through. Nonetheless, finding and obtaining all of the gems, capturing every Boo, and earning a three-star rank on each mission will make the game last even longer. Perhaps my biggest quip with the single-player experience is how a lot of missions don't encourage bite-sized play. A good portion of the missions take upwards of a half-hour for a first-time player with no opportunity to save one's progress. Still, it's a small quibble with an awesome game.

What will also make Dark Moon last longer is something that Unlike the original Luigi's Mansion on GameCube lacked-- its own multiplayer mode, known as The Scarescraper (har-har). This mode unlocks after the majority of the first mansion has been completed in single-player. There are three different multiplayer match types: Hunter, Rush, and Polterpup. Hunter has you vacuuming up all specters in every room to clear the floor and move onto the next. Rush has you racing against the clock to find the exit to the floor. Along the way you can pick up little timers to extend how many seconds you have to work with. Finally, Polterpup pits the player or players against a swarm of Polterpup ghosts. You must seek them out from their hiding spots and capture them before time runs out.

Team up with friends or total strangers
in the Scarescraper!
These multiplayer modes can be played solo, with friends via local play, or online with either friends or total strangers. The lack of any kind of voice chat hurts the online experience, but by tapping a direction on the d-pad, your Luigi can send out short messages to other players such as "Hey" to essentially tell other players to come to your location.

As each room is cleared, a Red Coin Challenge occurs. Four red coins will pop up at random locations on the floor. If all four are collected within the strict time limit, then a roulette determines which player gets a bonus prize for the next floor. This can be goggles that let you see invisible objects or even an upgrade to the suction power of your Poltergust 5000. Getting more red coins means your chances of being the player to win the prize increases.

Dark Moon is a delight to look at and listen to. Like Luigi's Mansion was a technical showcase for the GameCube, Dark Moon is technical showcase for the Nintendo 3DS. The lighting is just fabulous, the character animations are fantastic with how well the move to their hilarious expressions, and the game runs at a steady frame-rate for the most part. The sound is also well done, with Charles Martinet doing a splendid job as Luigi, and music that is infectious and infinitely hum-able.

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon continues the Nintendo 3DS's reign as a competent platform for games for 2013. It outclasses its predecessor in nearly every category, from design, to story, to structure, to secrets, etc. The addition of multiplayer adds even more replay value to an already packed game. Bustin' definitely doesn't just make Luigi feel good-- it makes almost everyone who will play Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon feel good too!

[SPC Says: 9.25/10]

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The "Nextbox": What Would Make Us More Open to Microsoft's Next Generation Console

It was officially announced yesterday that Microsoft will be unveiling their latest home console on May 21, less than a month from now, at their own special event. We at SuperPhillip Central love console reveals and cannot get enough of them, so we're excited for this new chapter in the world of Xbox. However, there are some things that we really want to see for the console that might make us more willing to invest in the system. For one, we would hope that Microsoft learned from the Red Ring of Death problem that shoddily built consoles suck. Regardless, we have eight other things that would make us more open to the next generation of Xbox. Here they are.


- No always online.

This is a big one, so let's start off with it. An always online console would be a deal-breaker for many gamers, even those who have stuck with Microsoft through thick and thin. We understand the always online DRM is used to prevent copyright infringement on software, and that's all fine and well, but when it has proven time and time again to not work so well in its current form (see: Diablo III and SimCity), then that's when we get a little worried. Not everyone has access to the internet 24/7, and no, they and we will not just "deal with it" either. Still, if the rumors of the next Xbox forcing owners to always be online to use most features, at least we can have an open mind about it. The next point we have, though, we have totally closed minds to.

- Used games are not blocked.

One of the big things that we at SuperPhillip Central do is rent and trade video games. When we are finished with a title and we don't plan on keeping it in our collection, we unload it. However, if the next Xbox truly does ban used games, then this is impossible for us to do. It means we would be much more careful about purchasing a game and less open to impulse buys. Why get a game without fully knowing how good it is? If we can't sell it or trade it in after the fact, then why risk getting a disappointing game just to sit on our shelf and bring down our entire collection? This is why we don't want the rumor about the next Xbox blocking used games to be true. We hope other gamers and consumers will also want the same thing.

- Better first-party output

You'd be hard pressed to find many people who would say that Microsoft puts out the best first-party games. We believe that Nintendo and Sony blow out Microsoft's offerings in the form of excellent quality. While the house of Xbox does have some stellar exclusives such as Halo and Forza, they really depend more on third-parties to sell their systems than the other two console manufacturers. We would like Microsoft to be more like Sony in this regard: have a system that not only has really good third-party support, but also  wonderful first-party output to make the next Xbox seem more enticing to people like us. We can only tolerate so much Halo and Gears before we grow bored and yearn for something new.


- Give us more than "just" gun games.

There is no question that a huge amount of the Xbox user base is in love with shooters, most particularly of the first-person variety. We've seen series like Halo, Gears of War, Call of Duty, Borderlands, Medal of Honor, etc. do well on the system. Regardless, we'd love to see the Xbox brand expand from games with guns to something more. Kinect gave us more casual-related software, but how about more platformers, action-adventure titles, and games of that kind? Make a presence beyond gun games. We're not saying that Microsoft only makes shooters, hence why we put just in quotations. We're saying that a big focus of Microsoft is to this genre, so we'd love for them to focus on other genres to give the next Xbox a more well-rounded library of first and third-party software.


- Give Rare its balls back

One of the reasons we were so excited for the Xbox 360 was to see what games Rare, a former developer owned by Nintendo, would make via glorious glorious HD visuals. We got a tremendous taste of that with games like Perfect Dark Zero, Kameo: Elements of Power, Viva Pinata and its sequel, and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. Since then, they've been relegated by Microsoft to do casual projects and avatar work. How the mighty have most certainly fallen. It's no secret that Rare is not the same developer with the exact same staff as from their Nintendo days, but if the developer can return to form and create games that are as innovative and charming as their early Xbox 360 days, it will be hard for us to turn a blind eye to Microsoft's next console.


- Smaller focus on Kinect.

Kinect gave the Xbox 360 a new lease on life in the console market, that much is certain. However, it also made a lot of core gamers unhappy as Microsoft focused more on casual gamers than core gamers. Now, don't get us wrong-- it's awesome that Microsoft went for a new audience to expand the marketplace beyond just typical gamers. We love being able to call out plays and tell our Xbox 360 to do things with the sound of our own voices. However, Kinect showed that it's not very good for a lot of genres beyond party games and mini-game compilations in its current form. If somehow Kinect is a part of the next Xbox, we hope that it is much improved from its original state so it can be used in other types of genres and isn't the main focus of the console.


- Better focus on indies

Microsoft has been particularly a pain in the ass when it comes to dealing with indies. For one, Microsoft charges a fair amount of money just for a developer to put up a patch. That reeks of greed, and it is unfortunately pushing a lot of indies away from Microsoft. We want Microsoft to take notice to how Nintendo and Sony are treating indies. They're welcoming them and their games with open arms by lessening licensing fees, sometimes even giving out free dev kits, and so much more. Microsoft has a lot to learn from those two publishers, so we hope Microsoft changes its tune and isn't so arrogant.

- Changes to Xbox Live

First and foremost, if we are already paying for the privilege of playing online with our friends, doing party chat, and so much more, why are there still ads covering up the dashboard? We find it bizarre how this works. Shouldn't the online service that is free (PSN) be the one with all of the ads, and the one that costs $60 a month be the one that doesn't have ads? Unfortunately this is not the case. It screams arrogance and contempt for Microsoft's own customers.

Secondly, and this is a total pipe dream, but we'd love to see Microsoft lower the price of admission to Xbox Live Gold. Heck, perhaps they could even make it free like Sony's current PSN. Again, there's probably no chance in Hell of this happening, but we can always be optimistic that Microsoft might make us happy in this regard.

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Those are what we want from Microsoft's next system. What about you? Do you disagree or agree with our points? That's just fine either way. Let us know your thoughts by posting in the comments section below!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Truly Timeless Art Style: Our Favorite Cel-Shaded Games

Many games from the past generation (think PS2 era) have already become dated mostly due to their graphics and art style. However, we at SuperPhillip Central believe that one art style helps in making a game stand the test of time. That's, of course, cel-shading. While there are dozens upon dozens of games that use the artistic tactic, we have come up with a list of fourteen of our favorites. From Zelda to Dragon Quest, this list comprises the very best of the art form.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (GCN)


We start off with one of our favorite cel-shaded games of all time. When it was originally announced, many Nintendo fans felt slighted. They felt they were victims of a bait-and-switch. The previous Spaceworld showed a demo of a more "mature" (for lack of a better word) Link facing off against Ganondorf in sword combat. However, the following year, a toon Link appeared, revealing the art style of Nintendo's next Zelda game. Deemed "Celda" by gamers and members of the press, when the final product, The Wind Waker, finally came out, gamers loved it. Another example of fans seeing their skepticism turn out as nothing to worry about after all. What we are left with now is a game that is looked back on fondly, and that is greatly due to The Wind Waker being Link and the gang being at their most expressive.

Okami (Wii, PS2)


A game no doubt inspired by The Legend of Zelda series (and you won't see us complain because we feel there aren't enough Zelda-like games as is!), Okami starred a goddess in the form of a white wolf named Amaterasu. Okami separated itself from Zelda by looking like a watercolor Japanese ink painting come to life. The original game came out on the PlayStation 2 on 2006 (Japan, North America) and in 2007 (Europe, Australia). It then was ported to the Wii in 2008, and popped up on the PlayStation 3 as a downloadable game recently. There's currently a recent rumor that Okami might be making a return of some sort. The Nintendo DS system's Okamiden was a nice start, so we're interested to see where Capcom would take the franchise next.

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3)


The most recent game on our list seems to honestly be an anime, more specifically a Studio Ghibli film, come to life. Seeing a full game based on the mastery artistry of Studio Ghibli (makers of such fine films as Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke) was an astounding delight. Exploring the animated world with Oliver and his familiar partners was something totally special, and if we can get this from the PlayStation 3, we just wonder how beautifully done cel-shaded games on the PS4 and next Xbox will look.

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (PS2)


Dragon Quest VIII, the PlayStation 2's sole mainline Dragon Quest entry, arrived on the system in 2004 in Japan, 2005 in North America, and 2006 in PAL territories. The game used cel-shading for characters, textures, and the environment to create the series's first three-dimensional world. Using Akira Toriyama's (Dragon Ball series) art, Dragon Quest VIII is one of the prettiest PS2 games for us, and that's all thanks to our favorite art style, cel-shading.

MadWorld (Wii)


Platinum Games' sole Wii offering was MadWorld, a blood-soaked beat-em-up starring Jack Cayman in a competition to kill as much as possible through any means necessary. Right away when you look at the screenshots associated with this game, you will see something quite striking, a trichromatic color scheme with black, white, and myriads of red. That's essentially what you do in MadWorld, paint the town red with the blood of your many many victims. MadWorld unsurprisingly bombed on the Wii, as the market for those kinds of games either was never there or abandoned the system.

Killer7 (PS2, GCN)


Looking like something lifted from a graphic novel, Killer7's cel-shaded art style feels gritty and perfectly suited for the noir-style game it is. Critics were split in their opinions of the game. Some found the on-rails paths your members of the Killer7 assassin group could traverse on to be limited, they disliked the controls, and the story confused them. Then you have people like us who enjoyed the unique approach to movement, got used to the controls, and loved the complex story and quirky nature of the game. Goichi Suda (Suda51) would use the cult status success of Killer7 to make another delightful cel-shaded and well-received game, No More Heroes.

Viewtiful Joe (PS2, GCN)


It seems like it was just yesterday we were talking about Viewtiful Joe. Oh, wait. It was yesterday we were talking about Viewtiful Joe! We jump anytime we have the chance to talk about one of the best games from "the Capcom 5", so let's dish again. Viewtiful Joe was a superhero action movie put in video game form, complete with a comic book cel-shaded art style and all the puzzle-solving, superpower action you could shake a red hot one-hundred at.

XIII (PS2, GCN, XBX)


The first-person shooter genre is one that we feel has run its course for the most part. We know it's popular, and there's nothing wrong with those who still enjoy it. We've just been burnt out on it because so many games feel the same, just set in different universes with one or two small changes. XIII is like a breath of fresh air in comparison, and that is mostly thanks to its comic book presentation (makes sense since the game is based of a Belgian comic book of the same name). It still is a looker despite being almost ten years old, and if more first-person shooters went with style instead of realism, perhaps we'd still be enamored with the genre like so many consumers are today.

Ultimate Spider-Man (PS2, GCN, XBX)


Speaking of comic books converted to video games, that is exactly what Ultimate Spider-Man was. Based off Spider-Man in Marvel's Ultimate universe, the game had players web-slinging around Manhattan as the webhead as well as switching characters to play as the strong-armed symbiote Venom. We listed Ultimate Spider-Man as our top Spider-Man title two times in a row. It really isn't just a great Spider-Man experience, but one of the best superhero games ever conceived.

Jet Set Radio Future (XBX)


One of the most sadly under-appreciated titles in the Xbox library, Jet Set Radio Future featured an immensely detailed cel-shaded art style, an eclectic soundtrack of songs outside the mainstream, and challenging roller-blading gameplay. Tagging the streets of the city was a blast, and the visual orgasm of colors made for an utterly beautiful game. A certain site yesterday (not naming any names) might have asked for this particular series to make a glorious comeback.

Naruto: Rise of a Ninja (360)


Like many games before it such as Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2, Naruto: Rise of a Ninja on the Xbox 360 showed that anime and the cel-shaded art style is a combination that generally works, and when it does, it works really really well. While we haven't hit the level where games look exactly like animated movies come to life, the games of this generation certainly came close. We cannot wait for what the next round of more powerful gaming hardware brings, and you can most definitely believe it.

Prince of Persia (PS3, 360)


The last video game version of Prince of Persia to release did so in 2008. Since then, the game has sold over 2 million copies worldwide, and the following year won the "Outstanding Achievement in Animation" award at the twelfth Annual Interactive Achievement Awards. It's no question why-- the game is highly detailed, looks like a painting at parts, and just animates like a dream. We wish Ubisoft would return to this form of the Prince of Persia franchise with a follow-up for this upcoming generation. Do it, Ubisoft, as you seem to be doing the right things lately.

Punch-Out!! (Wii)


Punch-Out!! on Wii by Next Level Games (Mario Strikers: Charged, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon) proved to the gaming populace that not only was the studio capable of making excellent titles under Nintendo, but also that good-looking and greatly animated games could be on the less powerful Wii as well. The animations are just top-notch for this reflex-based fighting game. If the fighters you face as Little Mac don't knock you out, the marvelous art style most likely will!

Valkyria Chronicles (PS3)


Valkyria Chronicles was a PlayStation 3 exclusive that looked radiant, sensational, and somewhat understated in its beauty at the same time. Using Sega's CANVAS engine, the game looked like a watercolor painting in motion, something that fans of the game cannot get enough of. It's just a shame that the other entries in the series went on less powerful hardware, the PSP. Still, we cannot be too mad at Sega because they did make two more sequels for gamers, though one of them never left Japan.

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We no doubt did not list every terrific cel-shaded game in existence, so that is where you come in. What games using this fabulous art style do you enjoy the best? List your faves in the comments section below!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Top Ten Franchises That Need to Make a Comeback

It's common in the industry for franchises to take a hiatus, even if they're at the height of their popularity. However, in most cases a series is shelved after an entry in it has poor sales. Regardless, SuperPhillip Central has compiled a list of ten franchises that we'd love to see return and make a comeback, regardless of what system it comes out on-- PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Durango, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC, Mac, 3DS, Vita, or any downloadable service. Simply put, these ten franchises are ones that have just been away for far too long for our liking.

10) Bomberman


One of the two "bombers" on this list (the other one will show up later), Bomberman is a character and series that we spent many play sessions lasting into the wee hours of the night. I personally I have great memories of Bomberman '94 on the TurboGrafix, as well as the multiplayer mayhem of Bomberman 64 and its sequel, the Second Attack. A Bomberman game was in development for the 3DS. It had adventure elements, like many of our favorite Bomberman games do. However, Konami purchased Hudson Soft, the developer of Bomberman, and then dissolved them within the company. The chances of the White Bomber's return are relatively slim right now, but we can still hold out hope, can't we?

9) Breath of Fire


One of my favorite RPG series from the 16-bit era was Breath of Fire. The series saw two releases on the Super Nintendo (they would later be ported to the Game Boy Advance), each with excellent presentations, music, and battle systems. The PlayStation saw two more entries in the series, adding an isometric view to the fun, and finally, the nontraditional Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter released released on the PlayStation 2. That was the last we've seen of the franchise. If you were with us late last year, then you should remember us listing Breath of Fire as one of Capcom's forgotten franchises we'd like to see return. Well, we're still waiting, and hopefully we see the return of Ryu and the gang.

8) Klonoa


A character from Namco whose ears hang low, they wobble to and fro, you can tie them in a knot, you can tie them a bow, you can throw them over his shoulder like a contin-- okay. Enough being cute. Klonoa is a unique character whose games are of two camps: platformers and puzzle-platformers. Both ooze with delightful charm. As Klonoa, you grab enemies and blocks and chuck them to solve puzzles and defeat other foes. The most recent Klonoa game was a remake of the very first title, the PS1's Door to Phantomile, and it appeared on Wii, simply titled Klonoa. How we at SuperPhillip Central wish to see our floppy-eared friend return for an encore. We'd even settle for a remake or HD port of Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil.

7) Jet Set Radio


Originally released on the Sega Dreamcast (R.I.P.) as Jet Grind Radio, this roller blading, spot-tagging series made the jump to Microsoft's initial home console offering, the O.G. Xbox, under the guise of Jet Set Radio Future. Both games consisted of tricky roller blading, which required great precision and terrifically timed jumps to reach more arduous areas of each level, and they both possessed a timeless cel-shaded art style. Sega hasn't completely forgotten about the Jet Set Radio series, as Beat, Gum, and remnants of the franchise have appeared in some of Sega's recent mascot sports titles. Still, just being on a character roster for Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed isn't enough to satiate our hunger for more Jet Set Radio.

6) Viewtiful Joe


Viewtiful Joe launched on the GameCube in 2003, and then was later ported with additional features to the PlayStation 2 the following year. Regardless of which platform you might have played the game on, the experience was essentially the same. You got an action-packed, innovative brawler with ingenious puzzles, great level design, a fierce challenge, an excellent soundtrack, and a humorous story. While the sequel that came in late 2004 did not reach the levels of its predecessor, the game was still a blast to play. Using Joe's unique powers to slow everything to a crawl, enter mach speed, and zoom the camera in to smack foes around senseless was an incredible feat. We maintain hope with the viewtiful one's inclusion in Marvel VS. Capcom 3 that Capcom hasn't entirely forgotten about Clover Studios' tremendous creation.

5) Prince of Persia


We haven't heard a peep from the Prince of Persia game series (not talking about that one film) since 2008's beautiful, cel-shaded installment that released on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, and Mac. It was meant to be a rebirth of the franchise. Instead, it put the series in an indefinite hibernation. There have been reports that another developer was working on a new installment of the franchise but it was canned mid-development. We have great memories of the series, starting from its humble roots and amazing technical innovations, and leading up to its 3D console efforts on the PS2, GameCube, and Xbox, among other platforms. If one day Prince of Persia as a game series does return, we will sound the fanfare and welcome the prince with open arms back to his throne.

4) Chrono ____


While there have been only two installments of the Chrono franchise, they have without a doubt left a mark on the gaming world, especially with RPG fans. The Super Nintendo's Chrono Trigger is still a masterpiece to this day, and the spiritual successor, the PS1's Chrono Cross, was also a grand game. The time-traveling exploits and parallel worlds made for an interesting gameplay experience and adventure. We know what you're thinking, however. The Square Enix of today is completely incapable of creating a competent follow-up and third installment to the franchise. We are hesitant to see Square Enix create a new entry in the Chrono line, but at the same time we can't help but want it as curious gamers. For all we know, they'd stick Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII in it (because they stick Lightning in everything nowadays). Still, we can only hope the Square Enix of the SNES, PS1, and PS2 eras makes a glorious return alongside a new entry in the Chrono series.

3) F-Zero


I recently sat down with the Wii U Virtual Console version of the original Super Nintendo F-Zero. It was one of the original SNES games that used the Mode 7 visual tricks of the system to produce 3D graphics. I was amazed at how good the game still was. Then I moved onto F-Zero X, and my passion for a new F-Zero game only intensified. I didn't wish to play F-Zero GX, because I knew it would make me delirious in my desire for a new installment. Just imagine a Wii U sequel in glorious high definition with 30 racers on the winding, looping tracks at breakneck speeds. Sure, the PlayStation's Wipeout series, another great futuristic racer, is a nice alternative, but nothing will compare to me like Captain Falcon racing with immense intensity on a Mute City track.

2) Metroid


The reaction towards the Wii's Metroid: Other M, a collaboration between Nintendo and Team Ninja, was decidedly mixed. The hyperbole, as gamers are known to partake in, was bad on both sides of the argument on whether the game was good or not. Some called it the best Metroid yet released (no), and some said when the game was on sale for $10 that it was still $10 too expensive (no). We will admit that the story left a lot to be desired, and the game was nowhere near perfect, but we loved our experience with Metroid: Other M regardless. However, we'd love to see Samus Aran make a highly anticipated return to a Nintendo platform with either a focus similar to Metroid Prime or a 3DS installment in beautiful 2D. We miss our favorite female bounty hunter, and we're not alone in our yearning for Samus's grand return.

1) Mega Man


Who else could make it to the number one spot than Capcom's own Blue Bomber? Sure, after Keiji Inafune left Capcom, the company has since turned their back on their mascot, but we still love you, Mega Man. It was reported by Polygon that Armature (former Retro Studios developers) were making an FPS Mega Man X game. There were even scteens and videos of it. While we don't agree with the direction Capcom wanted Armature to take the series in, we would have taken any new Mega Man game. Well, except Mega Man XOver, or whatever that mobile monstrosity was. Regardless, we'd love to see a new installment in the Mega Man series-- a Mega Man 11 or Mega Man X9 on downloadable services such as Steam, PSN, and XBLA. Mega Man is one of my personal favorite franchises, and Capcom's treatment of the Blue Bomber over the years recently has just been shameful.

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What franchises would you like to see return from either irrelevance or hibernation? It's your time to make your voice heard. Talk to your fellow SPC readers about which series need to make that all-desired comeback in the comments section below.

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