Saturday, August 26, 2017

Sonic Mania (NS, PS4, XB1, PC) Review

Here it is, the review to round out the week, Sonic Mania! After 10+ hours of enjoying my time with the Blue Blur's adventure to end all adventures, I finally have my own in-depth take on the game. Check it out with SuperPhillip Central's Sonic Mania review.

So take me back in time...


What better way to celebrate a milestone anniversary for Sonic the Hedgehog than going back to his roots? I don't just mean "going back to his roots" as something some marketing executive for Sega or Sonic Team would say and then have the publisher push out a game like Sonic the Hedgehog 4. Heck, even Sonic Generations was a wonderful 3D attempt at bringing 2D Sonic back into the fold, but that game, too, differed from classic 2D Sonic games of old in a similar way Sonic 4 did--physics. No, I say it as an honest to the Master Emerald truth.

For more than a decade now, Sonic the Hedgehog fans from the 16-bit era of gamers clamored for a classic 2D Sonic that played and looked as well to the highly praised game on the Genesis, namely Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2, as well as 3 & Knuckles. We'll also throw in the Sega CD's Sonic CD as well, which was just as stellar, speedy, and engaging of a 2D Sonic adventure. With the team devised of all-star Sonic fan game creators and Sonic Team itself, Sonic Mania would be the perfect 2D Sonic game, if not for some niggling glitches and bugs.

Sonic Mania is a brilliant ode to classic Sonic the Hedgehog games as seen on the Sega Genesis and CD. Fans of those games finally receive the Sonic game they've desired for what seems like ages, because to make a 2D Sonic game this good from Sonic Team and Sega apparently does take ages. It's in no short work due to the stellar grunt work by a team that really knows their stuff about classic Sonic (Christian Whitehead, Headcannon, and Pagoda West), whether it's the perfect physics when compared to the original Genesis classics; the multi route level design with room for extreme amounts of exploration, careful platforming, as well sections to blaze a trail down; as well as the many references to past Sonic games plastered in zones in easy to see locations as well as ones that require you to pay careful attention to your surroundings.

Let's talk about the physics first. Recent Sonic games, and I guess earlier ones too (around the 2000's and older) held the same strategy for sections of levels, most infamously loops. Rather than being able to merely speed with your own momentum carrying Sonic through a loop-de-loop, for instance, games of the modern era and on would require the use of boost pads at a loop's beginning to give Sonic enough speed to rush through them. Even when controlling Sonic, stopping or starting the Blue Blur, the amount of room necessary to get him to top speed or to stop him was much different. All of these problems in Sonic Mania are gone. It's as if the development team never heard or even saw Sonic games after Sonic CD, and just made a game to continue the classic physics of the Sonic games we saw on the Genesis.

It may look similar aesthetically, but this isn't your younger self's Green Hill Zone!
Level-wise, Sonic Mania offers a traditional take on Sonic the Hedgehog level design. There are high paths to take that require the most amount of precision platforming, but usually the rewards are worth it, with regard to a generous supply of helpful item capsules. Then, there are the bottom and middle paths in levels where lots of exploration is to be found. Unlike so many modern 2D Sonic games, the bottom path isn't so dangerous as usual because bottomless pits are strewn about in levels like free badges at a gaming convention. Only a few particular levels in Sonic Mania contain bottomless pits, so falling generally doesn't mean an instant death, or at worst, not knowing what awaits you by falling off a platform. In general, most levels have multiple paths, and you need not just stay on one as they're constantly interacting and intersecting with one another, all leading at the end to one converged path at the end of the level.

I heard it through the beanstalk that there's a hungry hedgehog-eating plant nearby.
Sonic Mania consists of twelve main zones. Some criticism thrown towards the game is that out of these twelves zones, only four are actually wholly original. This is a fair criticism somewhat, but at the same time, the zones from past Sonic the Hedgehog games like Green Hill, Chemical Plant, and Flying Battery, for instance, aren't exactly similar in design at all. To use a zone as an example, in act one of Chemical Plant, a zone originally found in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, you'll have familiar obstacles like tubes that shoot out harmful blue liquid from them, vertical passageways that fill up with pink water that require Sonic to jump on boxes to escape the flooded passage, and the usual cavalcade of Chemical Plant Zone enemies are found.

For example, while act one of Chemical Plant Zone looks familiar to the Sonic 2 original...
Whereas with act two, the background changes and new level gimmicks are introduced, this time ones that never appeared in the original Chemical Plant, such as liquid gel that you can insert a foreign material into making it jelly Sonic can get some serious air off of. Also, if there's any worry regarding level design in general, both acts of each and every returning zone are either remixed--making original designs of familiar challenges and gimmicks--or completely fresh with new ideas and concepts. Act one is generally modeled in the way of the classic Sonic game it appeared in, save for level design which is all new, and act two is a completely new take on the zone.

...Act two adds original and fun level gimmicks into the mix.
What of the four new zones in Sonic Mania? These four feel fresh as well as being hard to tell apart from the originals. I don't mean that in a bad way. I mean that these could be mistaken for zones from the original Sega Genesis and CD releases. They're that good, all the while offering ingenious design and exciting level gimmicks, such as Studiopolis' launching Sonic off of movie-themed clappers, spinning inside BINGO machines, and being elevated out of popping popcorn machine.

Here in the all-new Press Garden Zone, Knuckles was just put on ice... er... in ice.
Each act ends with a boss battle against either Dr. Eggman (perhaps I should call him Dr. Robotnik in honor of this being an ode to classic Genesis games? ...Nah) or one of the Hard Boiled Heavies, machines that serve as the other half of antagonists in Sonic Mania. Each boss is an original fight, but many times they'll also be remixed takes on battles already seen in past 2D Sonic games with a twist. For instance, Green Hill Zone's act two boss is the Death Egg Robot, the final boss of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. This time around, he marches your way while you pelt him with attacks from high ground in this auto-sidescrolling section. Others are completely original like a battle reminiscent of a certain classic Sega puzzle game.

Invincible to the touch, how can Sonic & Tails possibly defeat this mad mechanization from Dr. Eggman?
Sonic Mania has a lot of longevity to it, just by virtue of being a replayable game in general. However, there are ways the devs push you to play more. A mainstay from Sonic the Hedgehog games--collecting all seven Chaos Emeralds--is here, requiring the player to find a bonus ring hidden in acts (with more than one to be found in levels) to enter the Special Zone. Then, you must gather rings to add to the amount of time to your limit while collecting blue orbs to boost your top speed. The overall goal is to catch up to an escaping UFO carrying the Chaos Emerald before time runs out or you fall of the course. Then, there are Sonic the Hedgehog 3-style bonus stages that appear from level checkpoints that play just like that game, but instead of Chaos Emeralds, this time you earn medallions that unlock extra content in Sonic Mania.

Run with the wind, Knuckles! (Just don't fall off the course or hit any time-decreasing spikes!)
Other bonus modes include a competition mode in levels, as well as a speed run through various acts for the top score on an online leaderboard. Finally, you can play the story as one of three characters: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles (or a combination of Sonic & Tails), complete with one player playing as Sonic and the other as Tails, making for some really nostalgia as my brother and I enjoyed Sonic Mania just like we did Sonic 2, 3 & Knuckles, and CD as kids.

I would be remiss if I didn't talk about Sonic Mania's amazing presentation. (Well, for the most part anyway.) The colors presented in the game are vivid, vibrant, and lovely, and I'm happy the Mania team didn't decide to go with a more modern look instead of their current 16-bit retro style. Limited amounts of slowdown present themselves during my over ten hours of playing the game, though unfortunately, some glitches like getting caught in level geometry or falling through the floor of a level all the way to its bottom in a way that certainly wasn't intended were happenings that occurred to me while playing. Meanwhile, Tee Lopes grants Sonic Mania players with awesome sounds, and again, these fit in just as well as with any other classic 2D Sonic game from the Genesis era, most prominently, Sonic CD. The new material is just as delightful as anything else I've heard from the classic games, and the remixed songs are extraordinary, never failing to put a nostalgic smile on my face when I first heard them.

Sonic Mania definitely delivers on the artistic and musical front as well.
While Sonic Mania is exactly what classic 2D Sonic fans wanted, right down to the physics and art, what of players who didn't grow up with our blue needlenose pal? These players will discover just why the gaming world went wild back in the early 1990's and for excellent reason. Those who are new to 2D Sonic or started playing Sonic at a later age or at a more modern generation have an excellent platformer in general to enjoy all on its own. Despite this, that doesn't stop Sonic Mania from becoming as close to being, feeling, looking, and sounding like the old 2D Sonic games without actually being an old game. Just saying that by itself is high praise enough for the tremendous work for all parties involved.

[SPC Says: A]


Flip Wars (NS) Review

Friday wasn't the end of content on SuperPhillip Central this week. Instead, I have two reviews planned for today before the new week hits. SuperPhillip Central has a Flip Wars review for the Nintendo Switch first, and then I'll be taking a look at Sonic Mania later this evening. For now, let's check out SPC's Flip Wars review!

A game you'll flip for and flip out at.


Outside of the brilliant Snipperclips, we haven't seen many other Nintendo-developed or published games exclusively for the Nintendo Switch eShop. A new entrant has arrived, hoping to bring even more multiplayer fun, but this time in local play as well as online play. However, a lack of content really harms Flip Wars' shelf life, something that might feel like the game's flipping its figurative finger to players everywhere.

Flip Wars' main gameplay mechanic is easily described. You face up to three other color-coded combatants to ground pound tiles, flipping adjacent tiles over in either a cross or in a diagonal fashion when performed. In doing so, you can also knock out other players temporarily from the battlefield if they're in the path of the tiles you're flipping over.

Unlike real war, having the battlefield all red like this in Flip Wars isn't a bad thing.
That's the basic gist of Flip Wars, but lots of strategy is involved to keep things interesting. In flipping over tiles, the ones that are your color allow you to move more quickly across them, while likewise, moving across an enemy's tile slows your movement down. Items can offset this like an upgrade that speeds up your mobility in general, and you can also extend your ground pound tile-flipping reach with a red panel pickup. Items are discovered by flipping panels, and they're take away from any player that is ejected from the battlefield, now strewn about for the other players to nab.

Flip Wars' gameplay premise is as simple as its controls. You can move freely around each stage instead of being stuck to a grid. When jumping while playing smarter opponents, you can be taken out easily because they'll see you jump, and when you land, they'll have a nice ground pound of their own to welcome you back to the ground with. However, you're not a sitting (or in this case, jumping) duck in the air. When above ground, you can move the control stick in a direction to make a last second course direction, dropping you on an adjacent panel. This is perfect for evading opponents' counter attacks, but it's also good to get the drop on unsuspecting combatants, too. In addition to those combat offerings, you can also cancel a jump in midair and initiate a rapid escape before it's too late.

Furthermore, gimmicks on stages are available, such as a giant wave rushing under the battlefield, stunning anyone whose feet are grounded while the stage undulates. There is also a laser on some stages that perpetually and gradually turns clockwise in the center of the stage. Ground pounding next to it will produce a three tile-wide laser beam in your color that will eviscerate opponents in its path.

Both the players and the stage itself are making some serious waves here.
Three main play modes are included in Flip Wars. The first is Panel Battle, which is at center stage of the package. You and your opponents have a timer, and whoever flips the most panels in their color is the overall winner. Of course, the fun and enjoyment comes from last second victories, where one player can go on a tear, rapidly flipping over other players' panels to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Then, there is Knock Out, where party-style Super Smash Bros. rules are in place. The goal here is to eliminate as many opponents as possible within a time limit. This is all performed by flipping over panels while your opponents stand on them. It's more worrying about how many K.O.s you're getting rather than how many times you, yourself, have been knocked out--though the latter determines who wins in case of a K.O. tie.

It's a K.O. fest in the particularly cramped quarters of this stage.
To round out the mode package, we have Life Battle. This is similar to Knock Out, but this time, it's elimination-style, baby! Each player has a set amount of lives, and whoever survives last or has the most lives remaining by the end of the round wins. If there is a tie in the life tally, then panels colored gets factored in to see who wins overall.

The multiplayer in Flip Wars is great entertainment that anyone can pick up a controller and easily enjoy. If you have local buds to play the game with, even if they're hardly skilled at games at all, all of you can have a fantastic and fun evening together (or whatever part of the day you prefer). Online is a different story. While playing one-on-one isn't awful at all in the lag department, when it comes to multiple players, the games require stable connections from all four players to run smoothly. I will tell you--they ordinarily don't run smoothly at all. It was at one point in a round that there was so much lag that a four-player online match became pretty much unplayable.

It was exciting to play online with a full room at first... but then reality and severe lag set in.
That doesn't go into the biggest issue with Flip Wars--the lack of content. With only three stage themes and four different designs in each, no single player mode to enjoy, three modes of play, and little variety in the gameplay, Flip Wars doesn't contain much longevity at all. It's a game where I can see myself coming back to for multiplayer gatherings, but they'll end shortly once everybody has seen all it has to offer content-wise.

Flip Wars didn't have the lasting appeal that I was expecting going into the game. One feature on the main menu is still locked out, simply reading "Coming Soon". Even still, if that begins the deluge of upcoming content for Flip Wars, that's fine. However, more content should have already been placed in the game from the beginning, because now I can only recommend Flip Wars if you have multiple opportunities to bring your Switch out with friends and enjoy rounds routinely. For everyone else, wait for a price drop.

[SPC Says: C+]

Friday, August 25, 2017

Secret of Mana (PS4, Vita) Announcement Trailer

The Super NES classic returns in glorious 3D with Secret of Mana trekking onto the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in remake form. I can hypothesize that the developers are using the same or an upgraded form of the engine used to remake Adventures of Mana. Regardless, we'll be waiting for this remake of Secret of Mana for a little while, as it released February 15, 2018.

Piczle Lines DX (NS) Review

Piczle Lines DX released yesterday on the Nintendo Switch eShop. If you enjoy puzzle games with a lot of content, then you'll want to check this review out!

I picked a pack of Piczle-d puzzles.

Plenty of mobile games on smartphones and tablets have found their way on to the Nintendo Switch eShop recently. The majority were executed quite well. I can now add Piczle Lines DX to that list as well. With some similarities to Picross and online games like Pic-a-Pix, Piczle Lines DX adds some of its own originality into the puzzle genre while including heaps of content to keep players busy.

The rules of Piczle Lines DX are relatively simple. You begin with a square grid which at the easiest puzzles starts at 16 x 16 while later puzzles increase the size and complexity by up to 128 x 128. A series of numbers are sprinkled about the grid. Your goal is to connect similar numbers and the same color as one another to create a final image.

Hmm... This looks like quite the meaty puzzle!

Oh, no wonder! The end result is a savory and delicious hamburger!
It may seem basic at first--and that's because it is--but the greater of size the puzzles become with higher numbers to contend with, you have to plan much more accordingly. It's generally not a good idea to take on the highest numbers first, as it's all too easy to create a blockade between other needed connections of numbers. Therefore, starting off with the 2s, 3s, and 4s is best recommended, as those numbers generally have similar line patterns to draw, especially the 2s which are always right next to one another. By creating a baseline of the easiest to solve numbers, you can then move on to higher numbers before finally tackling double digit numbers.

Who's a cute pixelated puppy? Why, you are! Yes, you are!
Piczle Lines DX contains two major modes--Story and Puzzle. Story mode puts you as the young daughter of a professor. The professor just invented a contraption that can turns everyday objects into 8-bit wonders a la pixel art. Barely being able to contain herself, the daughter accidentally breaks the device, turning every object in the game's five worlds into pixels. Thus, you need to solve 20 puzzles in each of the five worlds, in a linear order, to return the objects back from their pixelated selves into tangible objects once again. Story mode eases you into Piczle Lines DX by introducing easy enough puzzles, taking but a minute or two tops. As you progress, the puzzles become more complex, complicated, and requiring more time and thought.

This is unlike Puzzle mode which thrusts you directly into the puzzle-solving action. Here, you choose whichever puzzle category and puzzle you want. The simple Sports category has the smallest and simplest puzzles to solve while categories like Dinosaurs offer the largest puzzle sizes in the entire game, taking a huge chunk of one's time to complete.

Have your brain jump right into the puzzle-solving fun with the Puzzle mode.
In total, between the Story and Puzzle modes, 320 individual puzzles of various sizes to solve. The original Piczle Lines released on mobile devices as a free-to-play game with an extremely limited amount of puzzles. While the Switch version requires a $14.99 price of entry, you're actually getting all of the costly DLC from the mobile version that would add up to the Switch price of the game. That includes future DLC that will be free for Switch owners (unlike the mobile original), so that makes the price difference between versions much more understandable and a bigger deal.

The issue, though, is that, for me, even with all of its puzzles, Piczle Lines DX becomes quickly repetitive. Yes, the puzzles do get harder, but this is more because the square sizes blow up exponentially. It merely makes each puzzle take immensely larger amounts of time to complete them--some of which up to an hour or so. If I'm already unable to really enjoy the game for long periods of time with smaller puzzles, then why would I want to move on to puzzles with a greater size?

One thing that doesn't come with a caveat is the control of Piczle Lines DX. Offering Joycon options or the ability to use the touch screen to connect lines, either way of play delivers solid control. You can even combine the two in undocked mode if you like to connect lines while panning around the puzzle with the left Joycon. Of course, you can do this with swiping at the sides of the Switch screen to move the camera around, as well as zoom in and out by pinching the touch screen, much like you would on a mobile device.

Piczle Lines DX also has a solid enough presentation. Story mode brings up comic book-like panels at the start and end of each world, and when pixel puzzles are solved, the objects get brought to life in the current world "hub" of sorts. Square grids are beaming with color, and it's always a joy to see all of your work on a puzzle turn into a beautiful 8-bit piece of pixel art. Unfortunately, with regards to the music, there is really just a couple of tracks of note, and both are similar to one another, merely adding more accompaniment. Hearing the same song over and over again while attempting to solve puzzle after puzzle in the game only added to my previously mentioned feeling of repetition with the game.

For its limited faults and mild occasions of repetition felt, overall, Piczle Lines DX's gameplay basics are premise are enough to bring plenty of joy to the game. With no pressure in the form of timers or ability to fail puzzles, Piczle Lines DX is a game that brought me a nice form a relaxation and lovely feeling of comfort. It's a game that won't push your mind over the edge into frustration, nor will it come across as a waste of money when you reap the rewards regarding all of the content Piczle Lines DX has with its 320 unique puzzles.

[SPC Says: B-]

Review code provided by Rainy Frog.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Pokkén Tournament DX (NS) What’s New Trailer

Pokken Tournament DX isn't just a straight port of the Wii U version. A handful of new Pokemon to battle as, two new support Pokemon, and new modes add to the perceived value of the game. Whether this is enough to be worth a purchase is anyone's guess. Personally, I'd love to see a promise for post-launch support. Again, Pokken Tournament DX launches on Nintendo Switch on September 22.

Pokkén Tournament DX (NS) Everything You Need to Know Trailer

Nintendo of America has cooked up what we can probably agree is an overview trailer for Pokken Tournament DX, an upgraded version of the arcade and Wii U's Pokken Tournament. From the Pokemon roster of 21 to how the controls work, this trailer shows off lots of interesting info for those of the uninitiated. Pokken Tournament DX launches September 22.

ARMS (NS) Introducing Lola Pop Trailer

A fear of clowns is a popular fear among people. However, there's nothing to fear out of this bright and bouncy newcomer to the Nintendo Switch's ARMS, a competitive fighter that launched this past June. Well, maybe you can fear being beaten to a pulp with no mercy by this particular clown, Lola Pop. Releasing next month to the roster, Lola Pop arrives with a new stage as well as three new ARMS.

Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS) Overview Trailer

During Gamescom which is going on this week in Germany, Nintendo released an overview trailer for next month's Metroid: Samus Returns. The trailer goes over the basics of the mechanics, abilities, and special powers that Samus Aran will use and encounter within this exciting-looking take on Metroid II. On September 15th, Metroid: Samus Returns will be available for the entire Nintendo 3DS family of systems.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Dragon Ball FighterZ (PS4, XB1, PC) Gamescom Trailer

Gamescom is happening this week in Germany, and new trailers are appearing for various upcoming games. One that many fighting game as well as Dragon Ball Z fans are eagerly anticipating is Namco Bandai's Dragon Ball FighterZ, due out in the early months of 2018. Four new fighters join the roster in video form for the first time: Krillin, Piccolo, Android 16 and Android 18 with 17.

Retro City Rampage DX (NS) Review

SuperPhillip Central has many reviews to share this week. We begin this onslaught of opinions on games with my take and review on the Nintendo Switch port of Retro City Rampage DX. Here goes!

We built this city on bits and blocks.


Until now, I've never played any version of Retro City Rampage! GAH! There. I said it. After seven years or so on the market in various forms, this was my first time playing Retro City Rampage. It finally seemed like a solid starting point with the newly released and relevant Nintendo Switch version, so here I am. The console itself has been my go-to for indie games, as I love being able to play them on-the-go or at home while having the TV on the background as I play in undocked mode. I can definitely, 100% agree that the high amount of love and praise for Retro City Rampage and its deluxe incarnation (the latter being the review subject) is very much deserved. Still is, as you'll see with my own love and praise for the game.

Retro City Rampage DX relishes in its ridiculousness and urges players to savor in its stupidity. The game really is just an excuse to drive around, plow into vehicles, shoot anyone without discrimination, and enjoy the game's fantastic missions and odes to games and pop culture of times past. The story is as simple as the rude dude with an attitude, named Player, being transported into the future, and now he must gather all seven pieces of the broken down DeLorean-esque time machine to return back home. Retro City Rampage never lingers on one particular thing. It's constantly shifting from mission to mission, story point to story point, all while never letting the player rest for a moment.

The game doesn't try to be anything further than be a hilarious parody of video games and pop culture, particularly around the '80s and early '90s. Your mileage will vary depending on how many references you gel with. For me, I was busting a gut and giggling with glee from the opening ten minutes. Whether it was the first major mission being a take on Metal Gear, a jump into a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-like sewer with the same exact look of the super hard NES game, or notes given to Player on the same stationery that Princess Toadstool mailed to Mario at the end of each world in Super Mario Bros. 3, the references are certainly fun to find and point out. It's like its own game--seeing which references you can pick from the game. A game within a game! How meta! Not only that, but the devs have made Retro City Rampage DX a bit of a critique on multiple topics in gaming, such as indie developers and how big publishers take advantage of them, as well as the types of snobby gamers who look back on the classic gaming era with too much of a rose shade in their tinted glasses while trashing on anything modern.

Player's Sunday stroll could have ended a bit more peacefully, but where's the fun in that?
The story elements and missions involved borrow heavily from classic games and pop culture from the retro era. I mean, who wouldn't want to teach Duke and M.C. from Bayview High a lesson courtesy of school principal Mr. Balding? The basics of Retro City Rampage DX's gameplay also borrow heavily from another source, the Grand Theft Auto series--particularly the top-down 2D games. There is the thefts of automobiles, story-based missions to advance through the game, and side missions in the form of discovered waypoints have you try to get high scores by slaughtering as many people as possible in various ways under a specific amount of time.

This slaughter mission requires you to beat a high score while piloting a colossal tank.
The story missions themselves have you going from insane, ridiculous situation to another. ...And again, filled with references to retro gaming and '80s/'90s pop culture during them. There are missions where you take out pole dancers in a less-than-responsible gentlemen's club (if you know what I mean), go into the sunken deep in a familiar-looking dam where you must turn on five underwater bombs, and even escape from prison with only a cardboard box to help you.

Some are a bit difficult, but where Grand Theft Auto failed in its early outings compared this retro delight is that Retro City Rampage DX hands out a gracious amount of checkpoints per mission. Thus, you're never really losing much time or progress when you ultimately get shot to death, blown up, drown, get beaten to a pulp, run over by a cop car, etc. If Retro City Rampage DX played by different rules in this regard and had no surplus of checkpoints, I probably would have bailed on the game. While this game does take a lot of retro classics, we're not renting these games from Blockbuster Video anymore, so NES-hard games aren't needed nowadays to keep our attention and keep us playing, death after death.

Give me a break, cops. I'm just doing my daily routine here--
browsing Skate 'n Buy and shooting at random people.
While the story missions aren't too terribly long, nor will it take a lengthy duration of time to beat them, Retro City Rampage DX has plenty to see and do in Theftropolis. From those previously described "Rampage"-like side missions to finding loot boxes and payphones as collectibles, as well as unlocking all of the different playable skins in the game--Retro City Rampage DX has you covered long after the ending credits have been viewed. Bonuses like retro tints to the screen and a nigh unplayable but utterly hilarious "Turbo Mode" add even more to the good times of the game.

Controlling Player is satisfying and feels good. Between aiming and shooting either by holding the shooting button or using the right stick to fire in one of eight different directions, you can adjust in the moment depending on what kind of crowd you're up against. The left shoulder button opens up your current arsenal of weapons--everything from pistols and machine guns, to rocket launchers and flamethrowers. The only drawback--but not with the controls--is that when you die exploring the free-roam city of Theftropolis, you lose all of your weapons, so be sure to use everything you can to attack, such as punching, shooting, and yes, Goomba stomping.

Your skin might be protected by suntan lotion, but that stuff won't protect from bullets!
Retro City Rampage DX has all the trappings of an 8-bit game, though not all the problems. For one, the frame-rate is solid while the amount of characters on screen at the same time is much more sizable than possible on actual 8-bit hardware and games. There are other aspects that appear in Retro City Rampage DX in a graphic sense that couldn't be done on the NES. From performance to the sound, Rampage comes with a host of chiptune tracks, all working well to bring an experience as close to the late '80s and early '90s as possible.

Overall, if you've not played Retro City Rampage DX despite all of its re-releases since its original launch, the game should definitely be on your radar. If you already have, however, perhaps the appeal of a version that you can play on a TV as well as take the game with you to the park, in the car, or even if it's just a different room in your house, will make sense enough to make this Nintendo Switch port worthy of a purchase. For me, I'm glad I finally got around to playing Retro City Rampage DX in one of its forms, and now also happy that I can wholeheartedly recommend it to others.

[SPC Says: A-]

Review code provided by Vblank Entertainment Inc.

Monday, August 21, 2017

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - "Total Eclipse of the VGM" Edition

In North America and parts of South America, a special eclipse will be able to be viewed today, with a line going directly through Central City. It's a miracle that we're around to see it, but actually, it won't be the only eclipse of this kind in our lifetime (unless the world falls apart and the apocalypse really comes--with the current world climate and certain leaders of countries, that may just happen). Regardless, another eclipse like the one today can be viewed in North America in about seven or so years. Scientists call it a "celestial jackpot."

But, there are rarer things, especially in the game industry. For instance, Nintendo finally figuring out how to do online play in any intelligent way, Microsoft finally having an in-depth lineup of games from its own first-party studios, and Sony finally allowing us to change our damned PSN IDs! The list goes on, but let's not loiter around low-hanging fruit.

What isn't rare, at least on SuperPhillip Central, is this weekly segment usually appearing on Mondays, SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs. This week, we have a nice mix of games starting off with Street Fighter V. We then get legendary with The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes and The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II. Next, is a trip to the land of Ys with Ys III: Wanderers of Ys for PC Engine. Wrapping up things is Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour.

Click on each VGM link to hear the song represented, and as always, check out the VGM Database for all past songs and games featured on this weekly segment of articles. Now, let's get on to the music!

v1451. Street Fighter V (PS4, PC) - Metro City Round 1 & 2


With another approaching Capcom fighter on its way with next month's Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, let's listen to Capcom's first attempt this generation with Street Fighter V! A rocky start would be generous to say about Street Fighter V's launch, but things have improved somewhat. Still, hopefully Capcom learned some lessons and Infinite won't have a challenged launch. That said, one component that didn't miss a beat was the sensational soundtrack. This theme from Abigail's stage is pure shreddin' guitar intensity with some solid drum playing.

v1452. The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (3DS) - Volcano


This is one of my favorite themes in the most recent cooperative take on the Zelda formula, The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes for the Nintendo 3DS. The third area of the adventure is simply known as "Volcano", and it brings with it an incredibly catchy theme made especially brilliant by the awesome violin. This instrument brings the totality of the Volcano theme to elevated heights, don't you agree?

v1453. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II (PS3, Vita, PC) - Awakening


We go from one legend to another. This time we're looking at (but most importantly listening to) The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II. The Legend of Heroes series saw commendable success on the PlayStation Portable, and then it found further success when it released on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita (the PSP's successor), and the PC. The game would be remade in the form of Ys: Oath in Felghana, and you can hear the astounding remix of The Boy's Got Wings here.

v1454. Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (PCE) - The Boy's Got Wings


We already had a smooth segue on this edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs, but why not get greedy and do another? VGM volume 1453 was part of a game developed by Falcom. This stands true for Ys III: Wanderers from Ys. We're going exclusively with the PC Engine version of the game rather than Super Nintendo port or anything else. The Boy's Got Wings is a motivating action track that pushes the player to continue saving Ys as Adol Christin.

v1455. Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour (GCN) - Sudden Death


Let's go from wild, epic adventures to... golf? You might scoff at that idea, but we're not talking any old golf, we're talking Mario Golf! In this specific case, how about the Nintendo GameCube's Toadstool Tour, a splendid outing for the series, though not my very favorite. Regardless, Motoi Sakuraba delivers a delightful and playful sound to the game, sometimes laid back, others more action-packed, such as the Sudden Death theme. It's a Match Play. You're tied 4 holes apiece. Who will make the first mistake and who will be the one to jump on it, defeating their pesky opponent? That's the onus behind this theme and Sudden Death in golf terms in general.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Pokkén Tournament DX (NS) 30 Second Trailer

Ahead of its release next month, Nintendo and The Pokemon Company have unveiled what seems to be a commercial for Pokken Tournament DX, an expanded port of the Wii U hit. This time, new Pokemon fighters are included to beef up the roster. Additionally, the Pokemon channel on Twitter revealed that a demo for the game is coming soon to Nintendo Switch, so while we look forward to that, let's check out this video to get hyped!

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