Saturday, October 25, 2008

For Those Who Love Level Design...

With LittleBigPlanet already released at some stores and with others selling the game next week, I thought it would be an opportune time to look at some of the best and most notable level creators and editors. Now I'm sure I've left off a bounty of titles, but we'll get to that near the end. If you're like me, level design is just something that's incredibly fun to do. Seeing your finished product and knowing that it plays well is a wonderful feeling. Let's check out some interesting editors and creators.

Halo 3 (X360)

Halo 3's Forge isn't so much a level creator as it is more of a level editor. You can place crates, turrets, weapon, shield, and spawn locations, build walls out of boxes to block passages to change the flow of an entire map, and so on. Now that may seem lame to some, but there are some really cool things you can try out that show that some people (not me) can think outside of the box!

I'm sorry that I couldn't find some official tutorials because apparently a prerequisite for posting a user-created game-related video is to have really shitty ass rock accompanying it. It's like adding a motorcycle to Bill Gates-- it doesn't make him look any less of a geek. You're a hardcore Halo fan-- be proud of it! Anyway, these user-made tutorials show the possibilities of making very cool set-ups and tricks that perhaps you weren't expecting.

Direct Link 1
Direct Link 2

Far Cry 2 (X360, PS3, PC)

If just altering levels by placing various objects isn't your thing, then Far Cry 2 is probably for you. I won't even bother explaining what you can do because it would not do the game any justice! Check out the video below, and prepare to be amazed.

Series (PS2, GCN, XBX, PC)

One could spend countless hours manufacturing levels to blast human opponents and AI alike in. A treasure trove of parts, options, settings, lighting, bot and weapon placement, vantage points, music, architecture, and much more were given access to the player to tinker and toy with. I can't express or even fathom how many hours-- days even-- that were lost through designing levels and fragging friends. Don't think it's nostalgia either-- this level creator and this series are damn good.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

Brawl's level creator allowed you to try out some cool stuff. You couldn't create levels as sophisticated as what was already developed, of course, but you could create some very hectic and very entertaining levels. Regardless, you were still limited to rather basic levels using only three themes and an assortment of scenery and objects. Unlike everything else in this article, the pictures of Brawl stages are actually my creations.

Blast Works:
Build, Trade & Destroy (Wii)

Let's go from a big-budget Wii game with an okay level creator to a low-budget Wii game with an incredible level creator of this side-scrolling shmup. Almost anything you can think of is possible with the level creator. You can build a background using the scenery and buildings already including with the game or create your own. Maybe you like sprites? You can actually create backgrounds, enemies, and ships that emulate your favorite games or go completely fresh with your own ideas. Perhaps pictures will speak louder than words.

Mega Man: Powered Up (PSP)

As a huge Mega Man fan since my childhood, when I read that an upcoming feature would allow players to completely create their own levels, I needed this game. This was actually the game I bought a PSP for-- just for that feature, and boy, did I get a lot of mileage out of it. You could easily recreate levels from the eight robot masters or start fresh using a tileset. Add enemies, items, powerups, spikes, hazards such as moving platforms, bomb blocks, the boss door, and much more to make your levels as simple or as maniacal as you desire.

Advance Wars Series (GBA, DS)

If the over 100 maps in each game wasn't enough content for you to enjoy, you could design your own battle maps as well. The only catch is that things like omega cannons and other mission-specific items were off-limits. Everything else? Fair game. Make a map as fair or as lopsided as you want. The most recent Advance Wars, Days of Ruin for the DS, allows players to send their maps to other players via Wi-Fi. Plus you no longer had to deal with only three save spots for custom maps. Now that's progress!

Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2:
March of the Minis (DS)

Had a level creator not have been included in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2, I probably would have regretted purchasing it. However, that's not the case as I got nearly limitless enjoyment out of creating my own clever and not-so-clever puzzles. The creator is so fleshed out, like Powered Up, that you could basically see that the developers designed the single-player campaign's levels (save for the boss levels) entirely from this nifty little mode. Also like Powered Up, you could share levels with anyone around the world.

That's a quick look at just some of the most notable level editors and creators to date. Are there any games with creators that you feel should have been on this list? Hit me up with a comment to set your buddy SuperPhillip straight!

Want to Hear More of the Wario Land: Shake It (Wii) Soundtrack?

Well, now you can on Youtube! There's a 44 track playlist on Youtube of the major tracks in the game-- every level and boss is featured. Minako Hamano did a fantastic job on this soundtrack, don't you think?

IGN's Nintendo Minute

I don't really like IGN. I don't hide that fact. Combine their lack of journalistic integrity to being another hivemind for "OMG GTA4 GAME OF THE FOREVER, OSCAR-QUALITY DIALOGUE LOLOLOL", I really have no respect for them at all, and they don't deserve any either.

I'm making an exception since an NoA rep does most of the talking. Thank you, gaming god almighty. However, this isn't fair. I can't possibly comprehend all of this information in a minute! Those IGNorant people at IGN should know better! ...You mean I don't have to read it in a minute? Oh, the person is given a minute to say their piece. It's probably because the people they interview for a minute want nothing to do with IGN Nintendo, and that's all they can get from important people in the gaming world-- one minute.

(Andrex, who has posted on this blog and is an active contributor to NeoGAF, organized the majority of the interview text. I hope he does not mind me using it.)

Denise Kaigler: Nintendo of America's VP of Corporate Affairs
(I would spoil her with riches, I would.)
Matt Cassamassina (so-called journalist) : Some Nintendo fans remain worried that the company is ignoring or marginalizing the hardcore gamer. Where's the proof that this isn't true?

Denise Kaigler: I thought the burden of proof was on the prosecution!

Matt, fortunately in this case I have plenty of evidence, so let me build my case.

Nintendo cares a great deal about our core gaming fans who have enjoyed Nintendo products and games for many years, and we continue to develop with this consumer in mind. But what we've done, in the simplest terms, is to look at the video game market in a different way. Contrary to some of the feedback I've received from game enthusiast media, we have not shifted focus to the casual market, but, rather, have expanded our efforts to include them.

Let's focus the argument on home consoles and Wii. Already we have seen core Nintendo games like The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Metroid Prime 3, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Mario Galaxy and Mario Kart Wii. And Wii is still less than two years old. Mr. Iwata announced at E3 that the Mario and Zelda teams are working on new games for Wii, and Mr. Miyamoto announced that he's working on a new Pikmin game. Plus our WiiWare service adds interesting new games each week like World of Goo and Mega Man 9.

Additionally, you are seeing core gaming content from key publishers on the Wii platform. Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Call of Duty are great examples. Lastly, we have recently talked about new games coming from Nintendo and 3rd party publishers that will further satisfy the gaming core … titles like:
  • Punch Out!
  • Sin & Punishment 2
  • The Conduit
  • Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop

I don't want to go too far over my "Minute," but I'd be remiss if I didn't at least touch on the Nintendo DS. Recently, we've seen games like Kirby Super Star Ultra and Spore Creatures. And soon we'll have Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. The upcoming Personal Trainer: Cooking is a great example of a casual game that is really resonating with core gaming journalists. On its face it has "casual" appeal, but as with any title, it's all about the interface and content. Your fellow gamer guys love the idea of an electronic cookbook they can control with the stylus or even their voice. Other upcoming DS titles we recently showcased at our Fall Media Summit include Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, Rhythm Heaven and Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia.

This may sound like typical blah, blah, blah "corporate speak," but we really are about making games for everyone. Different players, even among those who describe themselves as "hard core," have different tastes. Some like racing games, while others are into role-playing games. We're breaking down the barriers that separate the core and casual gaming groups. We think the two can coexist peacefully and play together. And since I am a self-described member of that expanded audience, I sure hope that's true!

That's Matt Cassamassina for you-- asking the tough questions... that HAVE ONLY BEEN ASKED 50 MILLION TIMES NOW. The shmuck...

What a nice woman. Seemed very knowledgeable. With Wii Music, de Blob, Wario Land, Tiger Woods 09, and MySims Kingdom, I'm going to be a busy Wii owner. Of course, not everyone has an interest in some or even all of those games, so they definitely want more core experiences. Then you have people who don't give any game a try and ignore the good ones just to rationalize their ideal that the Wii has no games and sucks. See this "holy crap, Wii haters, dislikers, and trolls are pathetic" thread for more on that story. No facepalm is mighty enough for that kind of ignorance from THAT kind of forum...

Wii Music - Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (Reggae Interpretation)

I can't imagine how long it took to nail all of the parts of this song. Wii Music takes some skill to perfect your parts so you sound genuinely good. As the game encourages, the artists used creative freedom and expression in giving their performance its own voice. Gah! Now I want to start playing and dabbling around again! Hope you enjoy, and hope you try the game out for yourself for more than an hour.

P.S. Today I'll be catching up on my missing Friday post. Seems like the theme of this week is keeping up!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wario Land: Shake It! (Wii) Review

You know, writing this up on WordPerfect, then posting it on Invisionfree, then finding pictures, then formatting it on Invisionfree, then posting it on the blog, and then correcting the image sizes is more trouble than it's worth! But I press on. That's the perfectionist in me. Well, here we are. It's the Wario Land: Shake It! review. A tad late, but better late than sorry! Wait... I think I botched another saying...

The "W" Stands For Winner

Wario must have had one serious hangover from all the partying he's been doing to make a return trip to Wario Land after all these years. if you mentioned the name Wario to the unsuspecting Wii owner, maybe the first thing they'd think of would be the Warioware line of microgame installments. Perhaps Wario was getting a little peckish and wanted to star in a game with enough content that he could sink his teeth into. Well, Wario, your wish is granted. Enter Wario Land: Shake It!, a brand new 2D platforming adventure for the Nintendo Wii. Not only will he want to shake things up in the game, but maybe given the news of this game being good, Wario will want to shake what his momma gave him, too, in celebration.

Everyone's favorite anti-hero is on the job!

One day, Wario comes across a special package, a mystical globe. Turns out this not-so-ordinary antique is a gateway to the land of Yuretopia where the evil Shake King (har-har) has taken over with an iron fist, capturing the queen as well as her humble friends, who is locked up in each of the game's levels. But who cares about all that? As soon as Captain Syrup mentions the grand treasure stolen, a special sack that when shook has a never-ending horde of gold coins to share with the lucky owner, Wario high-tails it into uncharted territory; his greed his only motive. Besides, heroism is for chumps!

Even though only the Wii remote, held sideways NES-style, is used to control Wario, the penurious plumber has a fortune in moves which are all available to him at the beginning of the game. The control is quite responsive with Wario being able to effortlessly turn on a dime. Well, maybe factoring in his... large girth, I should say Wario is able to effortlessly turn on a 1955 silver dollar. Regardless, it's exceptionally tight control. You're basically just using three parts of the controller: the d-pad, the 1 & 2 buttons, and the accelerometer of the controller itself. Wario can shoulder tackle to either knock away enemies or to just make better time, ground pound from high heights or use red machines that send Wario jetting across the ground and even over water to shatter otherwise impenetrable stone blocks, and he can perform numerous tricks with a shake of the Wii remote. When the shake meter on the top screen is full, Wario can slam the ground with his mighty fist, making all nearby enemies dizzy. He can then grab smaller enemies, shake them, and with a tilt of the Wii remote, toss them at a given angle. Money bags are scattered around the levels of Wario Land, and when Wario picks one up, you can shake the Wii remote up and down to empty its rich contents. See? THAT is considered waggling. Waggling isn't making gestures with motion controls, kiddies. There's also various contraptions such as rockets, cannons, and Wario's patented Subwarine which are all controlled via tilting of the Wii remote. To be honest, it'd be much more precise and easier just to use analog for the majority of the contraptions, as there's been multiple times when an aimed cannon would switch pitch at the very last second, messing up Wario's trajectory completely.

Shaking can get annoying if you're constantly retrying a level.

The main goal of each level is to reach the fairy-like prisoner trapped in the furthest reaches of the level. Once Wario arrives there and picks up and shakes open the fairy's miniature holding cell to liberate the creature, a timer begins to count down. Wario must then escape the level using either an entirely different path to the entrance or backtracking much more slowly to depart the level. If the countdown reaches zero, Wario gets captured by the Shake King. Of course, unless you're really screwing around during the countdown, this scenario should be rare if not never occurring.

Shaking is also used to gain momentum
for Wario to vault off poles such as this.

Which comes to the point that if you're just playing this game by running through all of the levels as fast as possible: 1) the game will be quite easy, 2) it will only last you five hours or so, and 3) you're doing it wrong. Coupled with the task of rescuing man-faeries or whatever mystical things they are, there's also three treasures hidden in each level as well as a list of missions to meet. The treasures start out as quite simple to obtain, placed in obvious locations to see and to reach. In later levels though, the treasures are placed in very obscure, sometimes puzzling locations. Puzzling as in "how the heck do I get to THAT" and not puzzling as in "what the heck were these developers smoking putting THAT there". It'll take some of-- no-- ALL of Wario's cunning to snatch them. Additionally, there's multiple missions/challenges to complete. The beginning levels have a trio that Wario can try to overcome, but the last levels may have up to seven or eight. These conditions need not be met all in one go as some levels have missions that can only be solved on a separate run through a level. This is where the main challenge of the game comes in. You have your easy missions asking Wario to bounce off the head of a certain enemy, and then you have your more difficult ones. For example, missions where Wario is asked to: not take damage throughout the entire level, not defeat any enemies, not fall into any water, break all of a certain object in a given level, and so on. The two most prominent missions which are in every level's collection of challenges ask Wario to reach the exit within a certain amount of time and to collect a certain amount of coins. Finding the fastest, most efficient path to the entrance of a level after rescuing the level's captor isn't always a simple matter. It'll most likely take multiple tries and attempts before the correct path is found as well as how to nail the run without screwing up. Likewise, collecting a certain amount of coins requires Wario to explore every nook and cranny of a level which someone just playing Shake It! by blazing through the game would never be able to experience unfortunately. After beating the game, boss missions pop up which require Wario to beat a given boss without taking any damage. Yeah... not so elementary, my dear Wario.

"Ha ha! This-a plant is stupid!"

"(muffled)...This-a plant is really stupid!"

The levels themselves are full of wonderful variety. The only time a backdrop or theme is recycled is during the many secret levels. Fortunately, these are recolored, so they look quite different. This means that any senses of déjà vu will be minimal at worst. Wario will be trekking through ancient pyramids, sky high palaces, tropical jungles, lush plains, boarding out-of-control trains, and visiting dusty mines-- and that's just the tip of Wario's nose in terms of venues to explore. There's nary a level that focuses on a gimmick that isn't used for the rest of the game. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Donkey Kong Country, but you know I love you anyway. Wario will be swinging on ropes, being blasted out of canons, vaulting from horizontal poles, and display his true adventurous side that's been dormant during his Warioware days. All that exercise, and you're starting to become quite the looker, Wario.

Finding all the treasures on your own is quite the accomplishment.
I only say that because I did it...

Speaking of being quite the looker, Wario Land is just a work of art. Everything from the highly-detailed, highly-stylized, highly-beautiful backgrounds, levels, and characters to the fluid and perfectly-executed animations of Wario and the gang is top-notch. It's like you're playing a living, breathing, fully cohesive cartoon. It's just a work of art., and it's all hand-drawn. Opening and ending cutscenes bookmark the entire game. All of the animation and cutscenes in the game were created by anime juggernaut, Production I.G. whose work ranges from Ghost in the Shell to The Prince of Tennis. An annoyance that some players have been experiencing is a lack of a true 16:9 display. To my understanding, this would mean that more of the screen would be revealed to the player meaning some secrets that are supposed to be hidden would be in plain view. At the very least, there is a fabricated 16:9 view which puts two vertical borders on either side of the screen. Better than nothing. The soundtrack is yet another bounty of the bodacious. The majority of tracks are extremely catchy, hummable, and fun to listen to in and out of gameplay. If I had to pick one genre for most of the music, it would be jazz. There's also a couple of remixes from past Wario titles such as Glittertown using a Wario World theme. This is no surprise as the composer, Minako Hamano, was the lead composer on that game. It's also no surprise that the soundtrack is masterful because Hamano has had plenty of other soundtracks under her belt such as having a role in Link's Awakening, Super Metroid, and Super Smash Bros, Brawl.

Wario Land: Shake It! is an interesting specimen. Those just looking to breeze through the game will not experience or appreciate the clever level design and how the path to the captor compared to the path of escape inventively intertwine between one another. The most challenging platforming puzzles for the player only occur during a hunt for a treasure or an attempt to clear a mission. If one just ignores all that, then their experience will greatly be affected and negatively so. For everyone else, completionists will love searching every inch of every level, plundering treasure and coins, unlocking the twelve bonus levels, as well as taking on the exhaustive amount of basic to merciless missions that accompany them. In the eyes of a 2D fanatic, Wario Land: Shake It! is a treasure that even that famed bottomless sack of coins can't even hold a clove of garlic to.

[SuperPhillip Says]

Story: What little there is sets up the ensuing adventure well.

Graphics: Simply phenomenal. The art and animation are one killer combination that few games of the same genre can beat.

Gameplay: Save the level's captor, escape in time, face a boss here and there, rinse and repeat. Note: Wario controls as tightly and responsively as his thinner rival.

Sound: The soundtrack is sensational. It's really one of the best original soundtracks of the year.

Replay Value: Speeding through the game without any extra work takes about five hours or more. Completing the game 100% takes anywhere from 20-30 Wario's first go-through.

Overall: 9.0/10 - Excellent. 2D lives on as it always should.

Arc Rise Fantasia (Wii) Trailer

This is from GoNintendo's blog entry of an official trailer captured by Nintendo Everything. The woman in the still-frame looks a lot like Major Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, does she not?

Some Very Cool LittleBigPlanet (PS3) Levels From the Gang at GamesRadar

I was going to wait until Friday to kick off SPC's LittleBigPlanet coverage, but I couldn't sit on this story until then. What we have here is GamesRadar taking four 8-bit classics: Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Mega Man, and Zelda II, and recreating a level from each of those games with LittleBigPlanet's phenomenal level creator. I'm going to love making sprite art and a whole assortment of themed levels all weaving together to form my very own platforming adventure! I've posted the videos to two of the four, but if you want the other two concoctions and a load of details on the creation process, check out this link!

Mega Man - Cutman's Stage

Zelda II: Adventure of Link - Eastern Palace

Check SPC out tomorrow for an article based around the level editor of LittleBigPlanet!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Samba de Amigo (Wii) Review

I've been posting a bunch about Wii Music, but let's not forget about the little monkey that helped pave the way! It's Samba de Amigo for the Wii.

Monkey See, Monkey Do?

Way back in 1999, players around the world shook their groove thangs when Sonic Team's Samba de Amigo danced its way into arcades. A year later, a console version for the sadly defunct Sega Dreamcast was released offering almost the same experience from the arcades, save for having to smell the sweaty teens with bad B.O., straight to the homes of hundreds of thousands. After an eight year absence from the dance floor and multiple cameos in other Sega titles, Amigo and friends are finally back, and this time they've boogied onto the Wii. Is this samba party one you'll want to RSVP or go AWOL on?

Samba de Amigo is one of the pioneers of the rhythm music genre. It was a game that got players off the couch and playing with a hard plastic peripheral that isn't just for adults long before Guitar Hero was conceived. The Wii version is a mishmash of old and new. All of the characters and stages available in the Dreamcast original are present and accounted for, but they've been tailored by Wii version developer, Gearbox Software, to be graphically much more colorful , impressive, and easy on the eyes. New to the Wii version are 23 songs bringing the tune total to an exhausting 43. These range from "Conga" performed by the Miami Sound Machine to "Do It Well" by Jennifer Lopez to "Mexican Flyer" from another long overdue Sega franchise, Space Channel 5. Additionally, a brand new Career mode tasks players with completing all the songs of one level before moving onto the next.

The game is colorful and very nice to look at.

Anyone outside of Japan probably missed out on Samba de Amigo Ver. 2000, an update to the original Dreamcast title, which included 14 new songs as well as a brand new Hustle mode. Japanese players have been able to experience these goodies for awhile now, but now everyone else on the planet can shake on into the samba shuffle as they're included in the Wii version.

For those who've never before partied hard with a monkey without contracting a disease, this is how Samba de Amigo works. A player chooses a song. Then, guided by on-screen graphical prompts, the player must shake the "maracas", or in this case the Wii remote and nunchuk or two Wii remotes, in time and on beat with the music. This is done by shaking the controllers at high, medium, and low areas in front of the sensor bar. In the most standard game mode, the player will have six multi-colored orbs arranged in a circular formation. There are two red orbs at the top which informs the player to shake high, two yellow telling the player to shake in the middle, and finally, two green orbs meaning for the player to shake low. Appearing from the center of the circle are a constant stream of blue dots which go with the beat of whatever particular song is being played and what difficulty the player is on-- the higher the difficulty, the faster and more complex the blue dot patterns will be. As a blue dot passes through one of the six colored circles, the player must shake a maraca at that location, so if a blue dot passes through a lower left circle, then the player should shake to the left of his or her waist. There's more special tricks, too. For instance, if a batch of blue dots line up, the game will tell the player to shake meaning that the maraca should be shook in a given location to wrack up a ton of points. There's also special pose moves where a character named Mr. Pose will hold the two maracas in a given pose. The player must then quickly emulate the pose in order to score, that is, score points; not score with Mr. Pose himself. Lastly, in the Hustle mode there's parts of songs where the player must wave the maracas back and forth, in directions, or perform a 360 degree motion.

Keep hitting the beats correctly,
and your performance rank will rise.

That's all fine and good, but quite frankly, the developers definitely overestimated the power of the Wii remote. The Wii remote can't judge height, so all that is really judged is the angle of the controllers. On the easy and normal modes, the songs are still somewhat challenging, but it's more to do with the patterns instead of the inconsistencies of the Wii controller. Scoring well on songs on these difficulties aren't terribly difficult, and the whole process is a blast to play. Hard and superhard difficulties are a different story. A given player has to perform maneuvers that take the remotes and nunchuk every which way in a very fast pattern. Unfortunately, the accelerometers of the Wii remote and nunchuk aren't capable of tracking motion that fast. Instead, the player has to make robotic motions, thrusting the controllers subtly forward to hit notes-- that is, if he or she wants to pass a given song on hard or superhard. While the game is playable this way, it's not the way the game was ever meant to be played. This sort of makes a convincing case that this is the definition of a broken control scheme. Those who can look past this and "do the robot" while playing will be able to complete songs rather well. It also doesn't help that cameo Sonic the Hedgehog's portion of the hard Career mode is more difficult than any other mode in the game-- even superhard...

Try to play in sync to build up the meter on the top of the screen.
Each time you fill it, you gain a letter grade on your performance.

To round out the package are a slew of mini-games and battle modes that can be played against the computer or a friend. These consist of a whack-a-mole-inspired maraca game, and a game that tests the ability to strike a good pose. The Battle Mode can be played locally or online. High scores can be submitted online to be placed on the leaderboard to see just how good a maraca player a given person is. Online plays very well with zero lag-- perfect for a game that is all about timing. Also, this is the first retail Wii release with downloadable content, so huge fans of the Wii version can purchase a song pack featuring three new tracks to shake your arms into submission. These are downloaded directly from Sega's own server instead of just a key that unlocks the already present content from a disc like other games have swindled gamers over. Beautiful Katamari, I'm looking at you. Heck, all of Bandai-Namco, I'm looking at you.

Sonic and Ulala cameo and headline Amigo's latest party.

Samba de Amigo is a mixed bag. You can tell that Gearbox Software didn't just phone this title in. There's a lot of noticeable amount of charm, effort and polish in this Wii installment. It just feels like a premature release as the major flaw of the game, the controls, could have been taken care of with the upcoming MotionPlus technology from Nintendo. What we have here is a game that is very much playable, but to conquer the harder difficulties, an alternate play-style must be used. We're talking about one that isn't what the developers had in mind and isn't what most people would find comfortable or fun. Hopefully, a Wii MotionPlus version is developed to take advantage of technology that is actually capable of a game of this frenetic pace. However, for $40 at launch, it's a fantastic party game, incredibly charming, and fun to play on easier modes. You could do much worse in the rhythm genre, but then again, you could do better.

[SuperPhillip Says]

Graphics: Bright and full of festive life. Gearbox Software very much delivered in this aspect.

Gameplay: Imprecise controls hinder the experience on later difficulties. They can be overcome, but at the expense of a less fulfilling playing experience.

Sound: A great variety of music from new favorites to old classics.

Replay Value: Leaderboards, online play, local multiplayer and much more await.

Overall: 6.25/10

Monday, October 20, 2008

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Made From Synthetic Fibers

Hope everyone's workweek and/or school-week started out well (except you, Bob Saget! Grrr!!). We have five more songs up to bat on this Monday evening ranging from Star Fox to Xenogears. Variety-- it's what's for dinner. I don't think I got the saying right...


Cape Claw is an area from the last console game Rare developed for a Nintendo console, Star Fox Adventures. The song has a very obvious tribal, African feel that's quite soothing and enjoyable to listen to.

"Bright Sound" is the theme of Rouge the Bat's first mission, Dry Lagoon, in Sonic Adventure 2. The song is very smooth backed by female vocals. It sounds like something from a 60s spy movie which is apropos since Rouge is a spy for G.U.N.

This track, "In the Gloomy Darkness", is the theme of The Mine of Cathuriges, an early dungeon from Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles for the Nintendo Gamecube. I really adore this soundtrack. Not every day do you get to hear real, earthen instruments used for an entire soundtrack.

"In the Gloomy Dark" is a very slow-moving piece perfect for exploring the dank caverns and mines of the dungeon.

This track is from Blue Dragon for the Xbox 360 composed by none other than Final Fantasy and virtuoso composer, Nobuo Uematsu. I think it should have played through at least twice before fading out, but what do I know?

Xenogears Creid is a special arranged album of various Xenogears tracks. "Stairs of Light" is a vocal piece with a French flavor to it. Very jaunty, very magical.

Direct Linkage:

Direct Link - Cape Claw
Direct Link - Bright Sound for Dry Lagoon
Direct Link - In the Gloomy Dark
Direct Link - Mechat Takes Off!
Direct Link - Stairs of Light

We'll see you next week, audiophiles!

P.S. Do you like the new color scheme for the video toolbar?

Top Ten Ways to Overhype Your Video Game

Edge Online recently wrote an article on ten ways to overhype your game. If you've been with this blog for awhile, then you know how much I love and idolize David Letterman. I thought I'd go the extra distance and write up a top ten list, so here we go. I hope you at the very least get a smile out of it, and look at that logo! I always go the extra distance for my graphics!

[Top Ten Ways to Overhype Your Video Game]

10. You have a branded soda which tastes like Master Chief’s pee.

9. You make a “for or against” thread on NeoGAF.

8. You’re marketing a game for the Wii developed by Ubisoft.

7. You ruin the production line of the Xbox 360 just to promote your new game, “Three Red Lights”.

6. You’re pushing it as a way to announce “the second coming of our lord and savior, Bubsy”.

5. No number five. Person who was supposed to write it had his house foreclosed due to the struggling U.S. economy.

4. Your game was rated four times by the ESRB: 1) “M” 2)”A” 3)”M” 4) “Aw, who the hell cares?”

3. You just spent five bucks on marketing Lair.

2. You started promoting the game in 1989 and it’s STILL not out!

1. Your game just got nominated for Republican vice president. Oh, wait. That’s how to overhype a VP nominee!

*Paul plays “Louie, Louie” with the rest of the CBS Orchestra*

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Well-Played Wii Music Version of The Legend of Zelda Theme

Might as well continue our weekend of Wii Music as the game ships in North America tomorrow. The following is a very good performance of The Legend of Zelda theme. I can only imagine the practice that took to nail.

P.S. This is a great GAF post that sums up my thoughts on those not giving the game the benefit of the doubt.