Thursday, April 24, 2014

Six Sony Franchises We Want to See On the PS4

With the confirmation that Uncharted 4 is in development, we here at SuperPhillip Central have taken a glimpse at past PlayStation franchises, and have chosen six that we would be glad to make their introductions on the PlayStation 4 hardware. Obviously, brand new franchises are fantastic things, but not only are we getting a steady supply of those with Sony's new hardware, we just want to see some familiar faves return into the PlayStation scene.

God of War


We don't consider ourselves to be the types of gamers who focus heavily on graphics, or use that as a primary reason to see a series reach the PlayStation 4's powerful hardware. However, with the God of War franchise, that's exactly what we'd be excited to see with a new installment and the franchise's debut on the PS4.

God of War III and to a lesser extent Ascension already gave us an extraordinarily graphically impressive set of games, but can you imagine how a PlayStation 4 installment would look on the powerhouse that is the PlayStation 4?

The only thing we'd ask for a new entry in the God of War franchise is a focus on a new character. We've pretty much grown tired of Kratos as a protagonist, and we think the various games in the series have told us all there is to tell about one of the only protagonists in gaming where we wish to see them fail due to their obnoxious personality and reprehensible behavior and attitude.

Perhaps also a nice tweak to the franchise's formula would be welcomed. Actually, there is no "perhaps"-- a change in the formula would be wonderful. The God of War series has used the same gameplay structure and mechanics that were established in the PlayStation 2 original, so we'd love to see a shakeup in the series for sure.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale


PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale was seen as a ripoff of Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series. When Battle Royale tried something differently gameplay-wise, it was derided for not being enough like its inspiration. There's some kind of double standard here, but that's not the point.

We think a second installment of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale would work well with a couple of alterations. For one, let the roster of characters actually represent the PlayStation's history and not just be a playable advertisement for random third-party characters to be a part of. There's plenty of PlayStation characters to be a part of the cast. You have all the PlayStation-related fighters from the original (including DLC like Kat and Zeus), and then you can include characters like Delsin from inFamous: Second Son, Iota from Tearaway, Tag from ModNation Racers, and Knack.

Additionally, a change from the you-can-only-earn-KO-opponents-via-supers rule. While that could still be a mode all on its own for players to choose from, a more traditional mode, perhaps with health bars or whatnot could make for a more appealing product to players and PlayStation fans alike. The fact of the matter is that we don't want to see such a great and potential-filled concept like PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale get tossed to the wayside before it can come unto its own.

LittleBigPlanet


Play, create, share. That is the mantra of the LittleBigPlanet series. With the power of the PlayStation 4 we can only imagine the types of complicated and intricate levels and creations we would be able to assemble. The possibilities involving the system's features make us salivate in anticipation. Using the DualShock 4's touch pad to more carefully assemble pieces of levels, or using it in gameplay to do things like move objects, like seen in the PlayStation Vita installment of the series. There's also the built-in gyroscope that could be used for level gimmicks as well. The SHARE button seems built for a game like LittleBigPlanet, and the capabilities of sharing a given player's runs through levels is one seriously enticing proposition.

Ratchet & Clank


Recently the Ratchet & Clank franchise has seen multiple experiments to the formula of the game. For instance, All 4 One was a cooperative action game with little in the way of exploration, and Full Frontal Assault was a multiplayer-centric tower defense game of sorts. Into the Nexus returned the series to its humble roots, but it was a much shorter adventure than entries like Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal.

With a new console, Ratchet and his intelligent robot partner Clank can get a new start. What better way to get a new start than a full-length adventure that rivals the greatest games in the franchise! We drool at the idea of new weapons with devastating power, showcasing the amazing particle effects the PlayStation 4 can do. We froth at the mouth at the idea of what new planets we would be able to explore, as the PS3 installments already blow us away. It's these reasons why a new full featured Ratchet & Clank for the PS4 is high on our want list.

Jak and Daxter


Out of the triple threat of 3D platformers in Sony's arsenal, the one series that seems to get the shaft is the Naughty Dog created Jak and Daxter series. Now, one can argue that the series was only good with the first entry before Naughty Dog lost their minds and decided to put a heavy emphasis of a dark story into a platformer. (This was their start of emulating Hollywood instead of keeping gaming its own voice.)

Regardless, the collect-a-thon turned GTA-like series needs a rebound, maybe even a reboot. It need not be made by Naughty Dog, as Sanzaru Games has shown that you don't need to be the series' creator to make excellent entries in an established franchise. Sanzaru Games took over the Sly Cooper franchise from Sucker Punch, who moved onto the inFamous franchise.

We've seen with Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier that there's still some life left in the series, and we can only ponder the capabilities of an awesome 3D platformer for the PS4. We'd prefer if Jak and Daxter went back to their roots as a gun-free platformer, as Sony already has the Ratchet & Clank franchise to fill that niche.

Wipeout


If Nintendo won't give players a new installment in its long-running anti-gravity racing series, F-Zero, let's call upon Sony to revive its own brand of futuristic racer, Wipeout. Unfortunately, SCE Studio Liverpool, the makers of the series is now defunct, but that won't stop us from wishing for Wipeout's grand return to a home console.

Without a doubt for a supremely skill-based technical racer like Wipeout, the SHARE button is paramount for showcasing players' best times, best runs, and awesome moments. That alone makes the idea of Wipeout hitting the PlayStation 4 and desired concept that we'd love to see fully realized, even with a new studio at the helm.

Wipeout HD and its expansion Fury made jaws drop around the world at just how spectacular it looked and how fluid it ran. Now take a look at a screenshot of the graphics of that game and imagine how it would look on the PlayStation 4. With the substantial boost in hardware, there's no telling how crazy the courses could become, how many special effects would light up the tracks, how many total racers there could be in a given race, and just how much lower our jaws could drop than they already do with the series up until now.

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Agree with our choices of series from Sony's history that we want to appear on the PlayStation 4? Let your voice be heard in our comments section below!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Top Ten JRPG Final Boss Themes (Spoilers)

There are sometimes top ten lists that write themselves. You can easily select ten items and bestow them with an order no sweat. This is one of those lists that was incredibly arduous to pick from the hundreds of JRPGs that had the most marvelous final boss themes to them. Still, we overcame the struggle of selecting ten themes from ten games and just ten, and we pretty much reached a compromise among staff. This list contains what we deem the best final boss battle themes in JRPG history. If you think we left out any good ones (which we most likely did with only ten picks out of hundreds of games), please let us know in the comments section below.

Also, it's important to note that we've tried to limit the amount of spoilers in this article, but you should still tread carefully. We mostly talk about older games, but there are a couple more recent titles that you may not have been able to play yet. In that case, we don't show the final boss's picture.

EDIT: This wasn't made clear, so let us do so. Each entry title is a YouTube link. Just click on the entry title, and you'll arrive to the YouTube video showcasing each song.

10) Final Battle VS. Rival - Pokemon Blue/Red/Yellow (GB)


This is it. You've come a long way as a Pokemon trainer. From your humble beginnings in Pallet Town, you've acquired the eight necessary badges from gym leaders around Kanto, and you've put the Elite Four in their place. However, there's but one last obstacle between you and the title of Pokemon master-- your rival, Blue! Although in retrospect it isn't as powerful as it once was, the theme heard while fighting Blue's six Pokemon was haunting, imposing, and let all trainers who dared face Blue know that this was not going to be an easy battle.

9) Last Battle (Opportunity) - Skies of Arcadia (DC, GCN)


This theme perfectly punctuates the tense feeling of facing the final boss of Skies of Arcadia. Even though the theme is pure synth, it still gives off an emotional impact all the same. At 1:53 the music changes direction into a hopeful song. This part plays as the final boss is on his last leg, so to speak. Victory is in your grasp, Vyse and crew, can you clench it?

8) Battle Vs. Lord Blazer - Wild ARMs 2 (PS1)


Using the main theme of the game as its focal point, Wild ARMs 2's Battle Vs. Lord Blazer hits all the right notes, not feeling foreboding like many of the themes on this list, but rather sounding heroic, as if this final boss is going to get his and Ashley and friends are without a doubt going to let nothing in the way as they save the day. Michiko Naruke's talents know no bounds, as the ending battle tour de force shows.

7) Dragon God - Chrono Cross (PS1)


Yasunori Mitsuda did some fantastic work on the Chrono Trigger soundtrack back on the Super Nintendo, but his compositions on Chrono Cross, in our humble, collective opinion, outshines them. Dragon God is a final boss theme that is one part chilling with its female vocalizations and one part pulse-pounding with its quick string riffs and motifs. Dragon God lets you know that you're in for one showdown against a boss that is anything but a pushover.

6) Awakening - Xenogears (PS1)


We change PlayStation One RPGs and move on from Chrono Cross to another Yasunori Mitsuda-composed soundtrack and game, Xenogears. Technically, Awakening plays during the penultimate boss encounter, but the boss that follows is a story-related boss that cannot be lost against, so we're going to say for the sake of things that Awakening plays during the true final boss of Xenogears. The tense and rapid pulse of the theme creates a sense of urgency, and the use of vocals accentuates the theme splendidly. Awakening is truly a theme that's like listening to a sweet dream.

5) Id ~ Purpose - Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)


Going from one Awakening to another, this time in the actual title's name, Fire Emblem: Awakening's final map theme for the final boss of the game is similar to Battle Vs. Lord Blazer, as it is more a theme of hope, heroism, and glory. Fire Emblem: Awakening already has our favorite soundtrack of the entire series, but this theme, Id ~ Purpose, is a cut above the majority of themes heard in any Fire Emblem game. The choir that chimes in to offer a deep and rich harmony that is hard for other songs to compete with.

4) The Strongest Foe - Ys: The Oath in Felghana (PSP, PC)


We love Ys: The Oath in Felghana's soundtrack to pieces, and one part of that is its rocking, head-banging final boss theme, The Strongest Foe. The action of battle is accentuated  by this uptempo track, delivering a theme that builds up the final boss as this sensational last challenge this Ys III remake has to offer. At 1:29, a heroic motif leaps into the picture, essentially telling players that there is hope to defeat this ultimate evil despite the odds being against them.

3) Serpent Eating the Ground - Bravely Default (3DS)


Whether it's called Serpent Eating the Ground or The Snake That Devours the Horizon is irrelevant when you finally get around to hearing this increasingly more epic final boss theme. The chanting going along with this orchestral blend of metal music makes this theme sound absolutely awesome. When this lengthy theme progresses, it eventually reaches a point where it plays the special move themes of each of the four characters. However, our favorite part of this theme is its epic finale at 5:20, which basically tells the boss that its butt is grass and your party is the lawnmower.

2) One-Winged Angel - Final Fantasy VII (PS1)


A theme that is so well-known that it needs no description, so we'll move onto number one on our list.

...

Just kidding. The final battle against an angelic Sephiroth has a theme that doesn't mess around. The introduction brings the tension, but the most popular part of One-Winged Angel is without question when the choir unleashes a flurry of Latin onto the player, ending with "Sephiroth" as the conclusion. One-Winged Angel perfectly takes Sephiroth's ordinary character theme and turns the knob past 11 to make a fully realized, kick-ass final boss theme.

1) Dancing Mad - Final Fantasy VI (SNES)


However, our favorite final boss theme from a JRPG comes from our favorite Final Fantasy with our favorite soundtrack. It's a final boss theme that was simply put ahead of its time. Starting off with a version of the theme Catastrophe, Dancing Mad plays its haunting opening moments. The song is split up between four movements. Each movement masterfully transitions to the next as soon as a piece of the Esper tower being fought is eliminated. Everything builds up to this final showdown with Kefka himself, where this part of the theme plays as Kefka's heavenly new form descends onto the battlefield. Soon, a rocking version of Kefka's character theme plays as the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Whether you agree with Dancing Mad edging out One-Winged Angel or not, there's no questioning the genius that is Nobuo Uematsu. A genius so great that we had to limit the Final Fantasy franchise to two entries on this list!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz (Vita) Review

For our fourth review for this PlayStation Vita-centric month of reviews, we have a series that has been down in quality for some time now. Still, we cannot help by look back and hold fond memories to better times for the series. This Vita exclusive, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz, hopes to greatly improve the series' recent quality. Does it do it? Phil has the answer.

By No Means the Top Banana


Two of my favorite GameCube games from the system came from the now defunct Amusement Vision: Super Monkey Ball and its sequel, Super Monkey Ball 2. The two games had just enough challenge and creativity to make an impact and have an admirable amount of sales. However, over the past decade, the Super Monkey Ball series has seen one average to mediocre game after another. That said, Sega is at it once again with Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz, a PlayStation Vita exclusive entry in the franchise. While this entry in the series is closer in quality to the GameCube originals than titles like Super Monkey Ball 3D and Super Monkey Ball: Touch & Roll, Banana Splitz still doesn't reach greatness.

Aiai is frightened. He's obviously
having an out-of-body experience.
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz's main mode, just like every other Super Monkey Ball game, is the Challenge mode. Here you guide your monkey in a ball through various stages, evading obstacles, avoiding falling off the stage, collecting bananas, and reaching the goal gate before time runs out. 

The beginner stages introduce the basic gameplay concepts of Banana Splitz rather well. Sure, these levels can seem insultingly easy, but they're a good refresher for those who are a bit rusty or new to the Super Monkey Ball series. Most of these stages have an abundance of walls, few places to fall off, and a lot of bananas to give players easy 1UP's, gained after collecting 30 bananas.

The introductory stages present the
player with plenty of protective walls.
Then once the beginner stages are completed, you can move onto the normal stages. Instead of just ten stages to trek through, there are now thirty. There's less in the way of walls to save your rolling monkey ball from falling, more moving platforms, pinball-like bumpers, and tricky, sometimes narrower paths for your monkey to take. 

The normal stages require
a bit more skill to complete.
What comes after normal are the advanced stages. These are made up of fifty total levels, as well as one ridiculous jump in difficulty between the stages of normal and the stages of advanced. There's a lot of trial and error involved, there's more than enough places where you will lose lives on a swift basis, and there's plenty of unforgiving level design to make you clench your teeth and want to chuck your Vita across the room.

This mode would be great with unlimited continues, right? You'd think since you go from thirty average in difficulty levels to fifty nightmarish levels in comparison, that you'd get a reprieve. Unfortunately, you only earn the ability to have unlimited continues after you beat advanced mode. Yes, this means you must complete all fifty arduous stages of advanced with a set amount of lives and continues, all of which can be spent through rather quickly. It's a very puzzling design choice that means a lot of players will most likely be stuck in the advanced stages and never see the rest of the stages Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz has to offer.

A diet purely of bananas can't be that
healthy for you, can it, little monkey?
In order to control your monkey's escapades across various stages, you can opt to use the left analog stick or go bold with the gyro controls of the Vita. The latter is way too underdeveloped to be relied upon, especially in later levels. When you have to tilt the Vita towards you to slow down, the screen sort of makes it challenging to see what's happening on the screen, unless you're a contortionist. 

Furthermore, the promisingly titled Edit Mode is another disappointment in Banana Splitz. One would imagine creating their own Monkey Ball stages manually, making exactly what they want. Instead, what you get is a mode where you take a picture of an object (and even now I doubt taking a picture even matters), and then shaking the Vita system to create a random, cookie-cutter stage that is as basic and boring as vanilla ice cream. 

Push your creativity to the limi--
actually, push it to the side.
Outside of the typical Monkey Ball challenges, Banana Splitz comes with a party mode, available for solo runs against the computer or battles with other players. A returning favorite in Monkey Target, where the goal is to take your flying monkey ball and land it on a target with multiple areas worth varying amounts of points, is present and accounted for in Banana Splitz, and it's one of the better mini-games in this package.

Another enjoyable mode includes Battle Billiards, a four player mode where opponents take turns hitting their colored balls into others in order to try to hit them into holes for points. There's also a Love Maze game with the goal of controlling two monkeys through an obstacle course, trying to keep the romantic chain between the two from breaking apart. There's also bowling, a number game where you tap a bunch of rolling balls in order, and a game where you control a ball and try to enter into holes, going for bingo in order to score points.

This is a much flashier setting for a
bingo game than a church rec room.
There is one mini-game, however, that is absolute garbage. This is known as Monkey Rodeo. It has you using the back touch pad of the Vita to guide a horse-riding monkey around an enclosed arena, gathering bananas. These controls are close enough to call them broken.  

Whoever thought this control scheme was
a good idea deserves to choke on a monkey ball.
Banana Splitz by no means pushes the Vita hardware, but the game looks and runs nicely all the same. There's nothing that really repulses the eyes in the game. Everything is suitably colorful, and the different animations of Aiai and friends are remarkably charming. The music is hit or miss. There's really nothing I can remember after extended sessions of playing Banana Splitz. That said, the music isn't grating either, so at least there's that.

With Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz, Sega edges the closest it has been in a long time in resembling the glory days of the Super Monkey Ball franchise. That notwithstanding, a ridiculous and highly frustrating leap in difficulty between the normal and advanced stages makes it hard to recommend this game to everyone. Despite its welcoming visual style and wackiness, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz is a Monkey Ball journey for experts only. For most, the majority of stages will never be seen because the game is just too hard and a lot of skill and a little luck is required. Still, while Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz slips on a proverbial banana peel and stumbles a little bit, it by no means falls flat on its face.

[SPC Says: 6.5/10]

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call (3DS) Announcement Trailer

It was announced today by Square Enix that Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, a game that we have long hoped would arrive on our side of the Pacific, will be releasing in North America later this year. Featuring over 200 songs and 60 characters from various mainline and spin-off games in the Final Fantasy series, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is no doubt a game that will have fans of the series and rhythm games in generally very happy.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Game Boy Turns 25: Our Favorite Games

Today, April 21, 2014, Nintendo's successful Game Boy originally released. Since then, the Game Boy line has sold over 200 million units in total, and has single-handily built Nintendo's portable empire, beating every competitor that tried to dethrone the handheld king (even more technologically advanced hardware). Since the Game Boy is now 25, does this mean that the Game Boy should be referred to as the Game Man? Holy cow, that joke was terrible.

Anyway, the staff here at SuperPhillip Central would like to take this special date and anniversary to look back at some of our favorite titles for Nintendo's handheld wonder, sometimes sharing some of our personal memories of these games. If you have any titles from the original Game Boy that you have fond memories of, please share with the community in the comments below.

- Super Mario Land
On 3DS Virtual Console: Yes

The first Super Mario Land game is rather strange. There's an absence of recurring Mario enemies, and even Bowser and his perpetual prisoner Princess Peach are nowhere to be found. Instead, Mario ventures outside the borders of the Mushroom Kingdom to Sarasaland in hopes of saving Princess Daisy, in her debut game. It's also the only mainline Mario game to include her in the cast. Super Mario Land featured capable platforming, bizarre vehicle segments (but they were by no means bad), and a challenging enough difficulty to keep new Game Boy systems owners a lot to come back to.

- Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
On 3DS Virtual Console: Yes

While Super Mario Land introduced Tatanga as the one time villain of the series, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins introduced the world to Wario. Not only that, but 6 Golden Coins featured a nonlinear game progression, quite unlike Super Mario Land. After the initial opening stage, Mario could visit one of six zones surrounding his shanghaied castle in any order. Once all of the bosses of each zone surrendered their given golden coin to Mario, the portly plumber could enter the castle, participate in a crazy difficulty jump of a level, and retake his home from Wario. Super Mario Land 2 improved the visuals immensely in comparison to its predecessor, and the results were nothing less than spectacular.

- Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3
On 3DS Virtual Console: Yes

It wasn't enough that Wario had to steal Mario's castle from him. In 1994 he went ahead and stole his rival's own series from him! Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 was the first game of the Wario Land series, and obviously it starred everyone's eventual favorite nose-picking, butt-scratching, fart-unleashing, garlic-eating plumber in an entirely new platforming adventure. Wario Land featured a new means of attacking: ground pounds, charges, chucking foes into other enemies, and more. Of the Super Mario Land games, the third installment unquestionably had the most replay value, with its secret levels, hidden treasures, and different ending castles for Wario that depend on how much coinage players gathered. Wario's debut starring role was a force to be reckoned with... just like one of his farts.

- The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
On 3DS Virtual Console: Yes (The DX version)

There was nothing quite like getting an expansive world to explore like The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening's Koholint Island. The fact that you had a Zelda game with the same echelon of content as a Super Nintendo title, A Link to the Past, was mind-blowing to many. Sure, we take this for granted nowadays, as handhelds have improved exponentially over the years, but Link's Awakening is one of a prestigious group of Game Boy games that simply stand the test of time. Its unique combination of items, side quests, and areas like towns and dungeons to explore allowed players to become fully consumed by Koholint Island and its many wonders.

- Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow
On 3DS Virtual Console: No

I remember reading about something called "Pocket Monsters" in an issue of Nintendo Power. The two page or so article showed the series of games launching in Japan and the ensuing ruckus that followed. A year later, I received a video tape in the mail from the magazine, all about Pokemon. When the games hit North America, I was in middle school, and I was completely immersed into the series. I played the games like an addict, I watched the anime, I collected the playing cards, and I even drew my own comic books based on the franchise. 15 years later and the Pokemon series is still going strong. I might not have anywhere near the amount of attachment to the series as I once had, but I can't fathom ever disliking it.

- Tetris
On 3DS Virtual Console: Yes

Before Wii Sports, there was a game that introduced plenty of non-gamers to the gaming side for just a brief moment. It was a bona fide system seller for many, and once players of all ages got their hands on it, minutes turned to hours in quick fashion. This Russian-made concept was simple: falling blocks of seven different shapes (five, if you don't count mirrored shapes) fell slowly from the top of the screen to the bottom. The goal was to piece blocks together to form a complete line, thus eliminating those blocks and giving the player points. Tetris has since had multiple ports and iterations on essentially every platform under the sun, and has gone on to sell over 170 million copies, most of which are digital. To say that Tetris is the most prolific puzzle game around would be no understatement whatsoever.

- Metroid II: Return of Samus
On 3DS Virtual Console: Yes

Samus Aran made her second appearance in Metroid II: Return of Samus. Her objective this time around was to eliminate every specie of Metroid on a harsh planet. Along the way Samus would uncover upgrades and abilities to increase the number of areas she could traverse in. While it's true that like the original Metroid before it, making a map is certainly helpful due to all of the identical-looking corridors and rooms, Metroid II: Return of Samus was still a fantastic first portable entry for Nintendo's femme fatale.

- Donkey Kong Land I-III
On 3DS Virtual Console: Yes (Japan Only, save for III)

You might scoff and sneer at the visuals of the Donkey Kong Land series today, but back then the trilogy wowed Game Boy owners with its impressive graphics. The original Donkey Kong Land implemented nearly everything concept-wise from the Super Nintendo's Donkey Kong Country. However, the levels and worlds were entirely different. Even new enemies showed up that were exclusive to that game. The sequels of Donkey Kong Land would utilize similar stories to their SNES counterparts, but the levels would be designed differently, despite sharing the same names. While the games haven't aged as gracefully as many of the other games on this list, we still hold a fondness for Rare's portable Donkey Kong Land trilogy.

- Donkey Kong
On 3DS Virtual Console: Yes

Not a straight up port of the popular arcade game but an entirely new challenging puzzle platformer, Donkey Kong released on the original Game Boy in 1994. While its first four levels were modeled after the four levels of the arcade game, once those were completed, the game showed its stuff. Levels consisted of Mario jumping, climbing, and hanging through obstacle-laden courses, with the goal of finding and carrying a key to a locked door somewhere in the level. The amount of new gameplay concepts constantly kept this 1994 version of Donkey Kong from becoming stale. The Game Boy Donkey Kong remains one of the best puzzle platformers ever devised, and if you're looking for a more recent take on the genre (but only after you've played this Game Boy game, of course), check out the Game Boy Advance's Mario vs. Donkey Kong.

- Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters
On 3DS Virtual Console: Yes

Pit returned to gaming with the Game Boy's Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters. The game was a marked improvement over its NES predecessor. For one, the challenge was more reasonable and fair. Climbing up the vertical levels and accidentally falling did not usually mean a lost life. Going off the screen at the bottom didn't kill you. Instead, the screen scrolled with you like a typical platformer. Of Myths and Monsters contained multi-room dungeons set up like labyrinths to keep players engaged and exploring. It was a shame that we didn't get to see the Kid Icarus franchise return to the public eye until decades later with Pit's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and his first starring role in 20 years with the 3DS' Kid Icarus: Uprising (great game, by the way).

- Kirby's Dream Land 2 
On 3DS Virtual Console: Yes

One of the hardest classic Kirby games is right here-- Kirby Dream Land 2. The game was a much longer game than what Game Boy owners had previously seen of the Kirby franchise. It implemented multiple animal pals to help Kirby in his adventure, and offered optional collectibles to unlock an alternate ending to the game. The real challenge came from keeping the necessary ability to unlock the way to said optional collectibles. Kirby's Dream Land 2 was a terrific title to give players who mock the difficulty of the Kirby series.

- Mole Mania
On 3DS Virtual Console: Yes

Shigeru Miyamoto was the brainchild behind this puzzle game. Mole Mania had players controlling (if it wasn't already obvious) a mole, as they played through eight worlds, venturing between the surface and burrowing underground in order to solve puzzles and make progress through the game. Mole Mania was deceptively simple at first, but even then, the concept was recognizably clever right from the start. Later worlds introduced harder puzzles, new mechanics, and plenty of head-scratching gameplay for all players of all skill levels to enjoy. It's about time we see a return to this game. You listening, Nintendo?!

- Final Fantasy Legend series
On 3DS Virtual Console: No

The Final Fantasy Legend series gave players an RPG adventure that was as meaty as a Behemoth. An embarrassment of class, equipment, and ability riches were available for players to outfit their characters in a myriad of means to best suit their play style. Although the three games of the series were obviously a little watered down compared to their console brethren, Final Fantasy Legend was an incredibly capable and competent RPG to engrossed in either on the go or at home.

- Mega Man V
On 3DS Virtual Console: Yes (Japan Only)

The wholly original Mega Man game for the Game Boy was Mega Man V. It had all original levels and Robot Masters to contend with, each based on a planet of the Solar System. The fifth and final Game Boy installment also showcased a new means of attack for Mega Man, the Mega Arm. Throughout the game, Mega Man could return to Dr. Light's laboratory to purchase items with special chips that were sprinkled about the game's eight initial levels. Also new was the ability to select from all eight stages upon the beginning of the game instead of just four at first (and then once those were completed, the other four opened up). Mega Man V may be only available on Japan's Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console service, but next month Capcom is releasing a slew of Mega Man games, including Mega Man V, for the service here in North America.

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - A Fascination With Roman Numerals Edition

SuperPhillip Central is here on this lovely Monday morning to pump up the jams-- video game jams, that is. This week we're all about games with roman numerals in their titles. All of these games are sequels to well known series. We have Saints Row, Street Fighter, God of War, Breath of Fire, and Final Fantasy to satiate your thirst for great video game music. If that somehow doesn't, however, why not check out our VGM Database? It contains every theme we've ever put under the spotlight in this weekly segment.

v606. Saints Row IV (PS3, 360, PC) - Main Theme


What better way to kick off the first morning of the work week than with some dubstep? Now, we must admit that we aren't the biggest fans of this more modern musical genre, but we can't help but enjoy Saints Row: The Third's main theme given a dubstep makeover.

v607. Street Fighter II (SNES) - Guile's Theme


This is apparently the song that goes with everything. You've most likely heard or read that if you frequent the Internet and its underbelly. This triumphant theme for the patriotic American fighter Guile, gets the body energized and primed for battle! Now excuse us while we go home and be family men.

v608. God of War III (PS3) - Rage of Sparta


We need to drop a bomb on you. Kratos of the God of War series is the type of antihero that we absolutely despise. He's always angry, he's always a jerk, and he does both of those things obnoxiously well. Still, it is way too much fun hacking and slash foes into huge combos, exploring majestic palaces, temples, and mountains, and hearing all of it backed by this chilling score.

v609. Breath of Fire III (PS1) - The Insane Warriors


Played in the battle arena, Breath of Fire III's The Insane Warriors definitely has a 90's feel to it. This jazzy piece has a really nice beat to it, consists of quick motifs, and gets the toes a-tappin'. A port of this PlayStation One classic arrived on the PSP. However, only PAL and Japanese markets received it. All others needed to import, which could be rather expensive.

v610. Final Fantasy XII (PS2) - Ending Movie


Longtime series composer Nobuo Uematsu only wrote one piece for Final Fantasy XII. The majority of the rest of the music was composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto, whose credits include Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story, and more recently Valkyria Chronicles. This symphonic masterpiece does Final Fantasy XII's climactic ending supreme justice. It's stirring, riveting, and makes one's pulse pound with its excitement.

Kirby: Triple Deluxe (3DS) North American TV Commercial

What an interesting approach to a Kirby commercial! The music selection sounds more like something to be heard for a Zelda game or Fire Emblem game. Somehow, though, it works really well and put a smile on our faces. Kirby: Triple Deluxe releases May 2 in North America, the same day as Mario Golf: World Tour. Nintendo is pulling off a one-two punch to kick off the month of May.

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