Saturday, February 27, 2010

SuperPhillip's Birthday Blowout (With Pics)

Today is my birthday, I turned 24 today, so I thought I'd share my presents given to me or gifts to myself. Unlike Bugs Bunny's Birthday Blowout, this blowout was good. These are mostly game-related, so I won't bother with clothes or anything of that nature.

First off, I got four Wii games within the month. Both Castlevania Judgment and Sonic and the Black Knight were cheap gifts, Endless Ocean: Blue World was a bit more, and No More Heroes 2 was full price. Even more gaming goodness for my Wii.

Then for my birthday gift from my mom, I got Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing while I received Darksiders from my grandma. White Knight Chronicles and the blue Dualshock 3 were gifts to myself. My PS3 collection continues to grow thanks to their contributions.

And finally, the piece de resistance--

A new laptop for school featuring more memory, more RAM, and more hotness. A great birthday began with a nice lunch at a local sports bar with my family and concluded with a trip to the gym. Hope everyone else's day was special on National SuperPhillip Day.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing (PS3, 360, Wii, DS, PC) Review

It's come down to this. For weeks I've been interested in our next game, showing off screens, clips, videos, et cetera. Now it's judgment time. Does Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing burn serious rubber?

LOL Why is Sonic racing in a car? Derp!

Mario Kart has had a lot of competitors gunning for its position as top karting franchise. There have been many imitators, some better than others, but none really have bested a version of Mario Kart. Offhand, only two can really be thought of, Diddy Kong Racing and Crash Team Racing. That's all. Now after what seems like ages, SEGA is finally throwing their collective crown into the racing arena with Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing for all current gen platforms including the DS and PC. It is pretty safe to say that the number of kart games that have bested Mario Kart is now three.

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing has a myriad of modes to choose from. There's the standard Grand Prix mode of which there are six cups of four races each with three difficulties to choose from. Then you have mission mode, time trial, multiplayer modes, online modes, and more. Mission mode is a set of sixty-four individual missions where the player is tasked with completing an objective before time runs out. These include but aren't limited to racing through gates, collecting rings, competing in a three race cup with themes such as all Seaside Hill tracks, attacking Crabmeat badniks with items, and knockout rounds where the premise is that after fifteen seconds are up, last place gets knocked out of the game. This continues until one racer is left standing... er... driving. Players are ranked on performance with a letter grade E-AAA with AAA being the ultimate score one can receive.

If you ask me why Sonic's driving a car, I'll injure you.

Another mode, time trial, is different from your standard kart racer. It's nothing we haven't seen before, but it's still a bit unorthodox. Instead of racing three laps, trying to score the best time, all players are doing is trying to race and get their best lap. One can race as long as they like to beat their best lap time over and over again. There's staff ghosts to take on as well as online leaderboards to try to take down the top spot and become the best in the whole wide world. It's a lofty ambition, but all one needs is a little skill, a little luck, and some quick fingers!

As laps are run and races are raced, players earn currency known as SEGA Miles that can be used to purchased new game content such as new characters, tracks, and music. Tracks purchased can be selected in free race, time trial, and multiplayer modes. The music you buy cannot only be listened to, but you can also choose what song of the forty-plus available pieces of music you which to hear on a given track. You're limited as to what song can play on what course, however. The music is mostly current songs, so no Green Hill Zone or Scrap Brain for you diehards out there. Additionally, as you earn miles, your racing license levels up in value to show those online you mean serious business.

The zombie couple sure don't look too dead now!

Speaking of the online, it's pretty easy to find a game. The game gives serious new meaning to the term host advantage by giving the host all power of track selection, AI difficulty, number of laps, and other options. The bad thing about this is that if you have a host who is a jerk, he or she might select the same track over and over again, cause long waits, and just irritate the members of the current room. Thankfully, you can easily create your own room and compete with up to seven other players online. Unfortunately, you cannot take two players online on the same console like you could with Mario Kart Wii. Regardless of this, online is pretty much lag-free, and it's much more about skill than random luck.

When you're taking on the best, why not borrow a few ideas (or ten) from them? That's exactly what developer Sumo Digital did with Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. This is most apparent when it comes to the assortment of items used. Nearly every item in All-Stars Racing has an equivalent in Mario Kart Wii. K.O. Gloves and homing rockets? Green and red shells. Traffic cones? Banana peels. Pocket Rainbow? Blooper ink. What other items there are-are taken from other racing games such as MySims Racing turn-the-entire-screen-upside-down item. However, there is something new put onto the figurative table, and that's the All-Star ability. When a player is near dead-last with little hope of catching up, hitting an item box may just give them their opportunity with the All-Star item. Each character has a different ability, and when used, the All-Star item can quickly send a character up the rankings in a jiffy! Sonic, for instance, gathers seven of the Chaos Emeralds to turn into Super Sonic, and plow through opponents with ease. Meanwhile, Billy Hatcher leaps onto a colossal egg and rolls over anyone foolish to stand... er... race in his way. All-star moves are fairly uncommon with two or three happening each race. Consider them to be the invincibility stars of Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. They're fair, they're balanced-- yes, there's quite unlike a certain news organization!

Amy unleashes her Poko-Poko
hammer during her All-Star move.

There's twenty characters to play as once every character has been purchased in the SEGA Shop, which is no easy feat all onto itself. You start with about eight, and while the roster is Sonic-heavy, there's plenty of cool characters from ones the SEGA knowledgeable will easily recognize to more obscure characters such as Opa-Opa, the Bonanza Bros, and the cute couple from the Japan-only House of the Dead EX. Each character has their own vehicle, but it would have been nice to be able to purchase new vehicles for each character instead of being stuck with just one. Regardless, every character's vehicle has individual stats in four fields to help players make the right choice on who to play as. Wii owners get exclusive Miis to race as whereas 360 console kings will double their pleasure on exclusives with avatar use as well as Rare's Banjo and Kazooie. Truthfully though, bear and bird have such rubbish stats that most players will probably skip over them in an instant for the much better characters already in the game.

For 360 owners, Banjo, Kazooie, and avatars.
For PS3 owners, less bigots and racists over PSN?

Moving onto the tracks, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing has twenty-four to speed through. Might I add that these are brilliantly and fiendishly designed. You'll be racing among the peaceful shores of Seaside Hill, driving through the zombie-infested halls of Curien Mansion, taking down the man in Tokyo-to, and much more. Even though only a small handful of properties are represented track-wise (Where's my Shenmue track? Why is Sonic Heroes the only represented Sonic franchise?), the variety is still staggering. Each track has its own flavor, obstacles, and challenges to watch out for and enjoy. For example, the Super Monkey Ball tracks are just as difficult as the game they were modeled after with sharp hairpin turns, 180 degree turns, and plenty of places to fall to your proverbial doom! Shortcuts also abound which are always a blast to discover. No proverbial doom there, just big reward and precious seconds cut off your time.

Treetops is the first of three Super Monkey Ball tracks.

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing couldn't be simpler to play. Well, I guess if there was a simple "WIN" button, but that's neither here or there. One button controls the acceleration, one controls drifting, one shoots items, and one allows you to look behind you for any oncoming dangers. Drifting is made simple, too. You initiate a drift. The longer you drift, the longer the resulting boost. You can also perform tricks in mid-air that will give you a boost once you stick the landing. Chaining drifts together showcases impressive talent and is the difference between victory and defeat, so though the controls may be simple, the depth is definitely there.

Visually, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is very competent. The colors are bright and vibrant, and the game runs at an oftentimes steady framerate of thirty frames per second. There's some dips when lots of action is occurring, but it's nothing breaking to the game. Another issue with some of the tracks is the inability to tell where you're supposed to be going. This is particularly problematic on the more colorful tracks with lots of lights and doodads going on. Not a big issue, but it will be one's first time tackling one of these tracks. Sound-wise, voice clips taken from previous games in each character's history are played, and they sound as good as ever. The game's announcer is entertaining, but for extended playing he's better left off as he often repeats himself. The music choices could be more varied to past SEGA games instead of much more recent ones.

Amigo's tracks are always the most vibrant.

Overall, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is a very good kart racer, and it's one without all of the cheapness of Mario Kart Wii. The items are much more balanced, there's no blue shell equivalent, and all console owners can enjoy the game. Dare I say that it's better than Mario Kart Wii? I'd definitely say so. The track design is just as brilliant, and you can tell that Sumo Digital studied the design of the Mario Kart series. Depending on whether you care about downloadable content or not, the Wii version is the cheapest console version whereas the HD games will feature the DLC that the Wii will not. For now, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars soars past the checkered flag in first place!

[SuperPhillip Says: 9.0/10]

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sonic and the Black Knight (Wii) Review

Our next game for review this month came out in March of 2009. That won't stop me from getting my fangs into it! I recently picked up this game on the cheap, and I have to admit, I found myself enjoying many parts of this game. It's Sonic and the Black Knight, and it's time to bring the review on out!

Knight of the Wind

Like Mario, Sonic has had an illustrious career to him. He's been a kart driver, an Olympic athlete, a hero of legend, a werehog, a participant of bestiality, and so much more. Now Sonic is returning to the world of fantasy with a new take on the legend of King Arthur. How does it hold up, and does this fairy tale have a happy ending?

The last time Wii owners had Sonic the Hedgehog in a fantasy world, he was spinning it up in Ali Baba's realm. This time around Sonic has been called to the land of King Arthur and Camelot where the realm is in trouble. King Arthur has been possessed by Excalibur's scabbard and is causing evil creatures to pop up all around the land. With speaking sword in hand and swift feet in tow, Sonic the Hedgehog is here to once again save the day. The story never takes itself too seriously which is a treat since we've seen how bad Sonic Team can get with their stories involving real drama. Quick! Get those memories of Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 out of your mind! The more important cutscenes are played in cinematics, but most of the time you'll see the tale play out in storybook-like sequences.

Sonic will travel many lands in search of King Arthur.

Casting aside the linearity of previous Sonic games, Sonic and the Black Knight offers a more open-ended structure. You have a world map that is full of missions. Each time you complete one mission, another handful or so open up. These missions range from your typical get to the goal escapades to more involved missions such as defeating fifty enemies, giving enough rings to townspeople, and battling bosses. There's around seven different zones to play through, and while the game seems on the short side, after the final boss is slain, even more missions open up. These will test the very essence of mettle. They are quite difficult. After each mission, Sonic earns items that can be equipped to him to give the speedy speedster new abilities like taking less damage, starting with more rings, and so forth. Items can be traded to friends via Wi-Fi, and best scores on missions can be posted on the game's online leaderboards.

Many familiar faces appear in this fantasy.

Sonic and the Black Knight plays similarly to Sonic and the Secret Rings. You're constantly wanting to move forward thanks to the fixed camera angle always looking in that direction (which makes backtracking a huge hassle), but instead of tilting the Wii remote to move, you use a traditional analog stick. This way you have much more control over Sonic while you waggle the Wii remote to attack enemies with Sonic's sword. Yes, that's right. A sword. Perhaps Sonic Team should work on fixing broken elements first and foremost instead of adding even more broken elements into their games. Maybe that is not fair to say, the swordsmanship is pretty unresponsive, but at least it works somewhat.

Speed and careful platforming is what most old-school Sonic fans want from their games. Well, speed is pretty much what they'll get albeit in shorter bursts. The game constantly throws enemies in your path for Sonic to slay. This can get tiresome when all you want to do is speed through the levels. The old standby, the homing attack, returns and works well (for once). Sonic can also block enemy attacks with his sword, a move that hardened hedgehogs must learn if they want to survive King Arthur's soldiers. Later in the game, the fencing furry can use a move that takes out each enemy one at a time as long as his energy gauge has juice inside it. There's all of these tools at Sonic's disposal this time around.

There's no time for sightseeing in this wintry wonderland.

The seven worlds of Sonic and the Black Knight take the blue blur from a misty lake where he'll meet the Lady of the Lake, Camelot Castle, the deep woods, a fiery volcano, a cavern full of crystals, and a titanic-sized plain. There's plenty of variety in each of the worlds from battering rams to grind ropes, tricks and traps, safe landings and bottomless pits. One world has Sonic inching his way on a small ledge where he must time his movements so he doesn't get damaged by rocks, spikes, or a burst of lava. Each level has a treasure chest hidden inside it giving Sonic a brand-new item to utilize. It'd be easier if the camera could change directions instead of having to awkwardly backflip through previously cleared areas either to find more treasure or take out an enemy straggler.

Sword in hand, pain in butt.

Crush40 once again returns after a long absence to perform most of the game's music with Jun Senoue taking lead role of head composer. The music is suitable for the game, rock undertones in the feudal era notwithstanding, but for a Sonic game, what else do you expect? The visuals stay consistent with the quality of the music (ignore this if you find yourself hating the music) as in they're quite impressive, too. Seeing Sonic run through a field of grass with individual blades popping up is very entertaining to the eye. The game runs at a good clip, and the action seldom calls for any slowdown of any kind.

Sonic and the Black Knight is not a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination-- no matter what fantasy world you're visiting. The swordplay is borderline broken (waggle is just as bad as button mashing to me), the main campaign lasts but a few hours, and the battle mode is competent yet tacked on. What Sonic and the Black Knight does well is keep things fresh with the wonderful level variety, it keeps things enjoyable to watch unlike previous hedgehog games, and it keeps things fair by not being too easy and not being too difficult. Even with the sometimes unresponsive controls, the game is still fun to play and can be beaten without many headaches. While not a great ending, this fairy tale, Sonic and the Black Knight enjoys a happy ending.

[SuperPhillip Says: 6.75/10]

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Metroid: Other M - New Screens

What a treat today has been for Wii owners today! Not one, but several big exclusive titles have been dated including Super Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid: Other M, Monster Hunter 3, Sin & Punishment: Star Successor, and more! Check out screens for the first two below at your full discretion!

Super Mario Galaxy 2

Metroid: Other M

Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) - Media Summit Trailer

Super Mario Galaxy 2 was and still is one of my most anticipated games of 2010. Now we have a release date of May 23 for North America. Watch this trailer featuring Yoshi, Chain Chomps, Bowser Jr., Piantas, and much more. The second half showcases Yoshi's impressive tongue-- pulling objects, grabbing onto levers, among other things.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

SPC Quickies - Volume Six: SEGA All-Stars

Once again as if the vast posts didn't state it enough, Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing is due out today, and to celebrate I'm doing quickies on five classic SEGA games. Which games will I be playing? There's only one way to find out! Once again, here's how Quickies are scored:

5 - Fantastic

4 - Great

3 - Fair

2 - Poor

1 - Awful


Sonic the Hedgehog

Before the blue blur hit the Genesis around the midpoint of the console's life, a little boy named Alex Kidd was SEGA's main mascot. Ditching the dude for someone with more 'tude, Sonic the Hedgehog rolled into fruition. Speeding up ramps, down hills, over loop the loops, and bashing Robotnik's badniks in more than six zones, each with three acts apiece. Sonic the Hedgehog was what most older fans want from newer Sonics. The Marble Zone and Spring Act Zone were much more about delicate platforming than they were high speed. At the conclusion of each zone, Sonic faces off against one of the many robotic machines Dr. Robotnik has in his possession. Clever players might even collect one of six Chaos Emeralds to see the best ending the game had to offer. For a fantastic platforming adventure that might be a zone or two too short, Sonic the Hedgehog's your game, and speed's his name!

[SuperPhillip Says: 5/5]


The hero of Decap Attack has a bit of a problem. You see, he's "a head" of himself. *cue Cryptkeeper cackle* DecapAttack is a 2-D platformer where our mummified hero can punch enemies with his heart, throw his head for a long-range attack, and leap through several themed body part worlds such as El Beau Island. There's also helpful items your mummy can collect to boost his strength, jumping ability, and much more as he progresses through each stage, three of them in each world. Jumping is tight, there's plenty of enemy variety, but many of the worlds happen to look the same which is a problem. Overall, DecapAttack is a great, overlooked platformer from SEGA's illustrious past.

[SuperPhillip Says: 4/5]


Columns is SEGA's answer to Tetris, and it's one that isn't too bad. There's three difficulty modes to select from, and the goal is simple. Three differently colored blocks fall down in column formations. The idea is to line up three colors either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. As you earn more points, the columns begin to fall faster. Once they reach the top of the screen, it's game over. I have great memories playing this game with my dad. We'd spend hours lining up blocks, scoring points, and listening to the game's infectious music. While there isn't a lot to Columns, what there is enjoyable enough for puzzle fans far and wide.

[SuperPhillip Says: 3/5]

Golden Axe

Golden Axe is a side-scrolling beat-em-up where you play one of four characters each with different abilities. The game is as linear as you'd expect from the genre, and the different amounts of enemies isn't too terribly high. What kills this game from being at all fun is that Golden Axe is just so horribly clunky and archaic. Your characters move like molasses, the animations are rough, and the game is essentially devoid of worthwhile gameplay. If the revamp, Golden Axe: Beast Rider has shown anything is that this franchise is not golden at all. Perhaps Mediocre Axe would be catchier and fool many less gamers!

[SuperPhillip Says: 1/5]


When the citizens of the world are in trouble, they wish upon a star to save them-- Ristar! Developed by Sonic Team, Ristar is a creative 2D platformer where Ristar's main line of attacking and moving through the levels is grabbing various enemies and objects. When Ristar grabs hold of an enemy, he thrusts his body into them to defeat them. When faced with a climbable object such as monkeybars or trees, Ristar can grab onto them and pull or climb himself to safety! Each planet-- the worlds of Ristar-- have two acts followed by a third which is a boss battle. These are just as clever as the game mechanics of Ristar themselves! With vibrant visuals, much melodious music, and an ease of difficulty, Ristar is one game definitely worth checking out.

[SuperPhillip Says: 5/5]

Have a game you want to see get the SPC Quickies treatment? Let everyone know in the comments section! Also, stay tuned for a review of Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing sometime next month!

Monday, February 22, 2010

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - I Would Walk 500 VGMs Edition

Here we are eagerly awaiting what the 500th video will be. Unless, of course, you already know ahead of time! Then I call you a cheater. Regardless, this list began in May of 2008, and it's been going strong ever since. This week I have in store for you some music from Kirby Air Ride, Klonoa, Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, and more. Time to reach 500!

v496. Kirby Air Ride - Frozen Hillside

Last time we took a listen to Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity. Time for another unorthodox racer with Kirby AIr Ride. Frozen Hillside is an icy track with plenty of tight turns and slick surfaces to ride over. This theme is also a part of the Super Smash Bros. Brawl soundtrack.

v497. Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil - Going to Lunatea

Going to Lunatea plays on the world map, and it has a warm folksy feeling to it. With the bombing of the Wii title of Klonoa, it may seem like Klonoa's going to be put into early retirement! Shame on you, the collective known as Wii owners. And I was just getting into the franchise!

v498. Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles - Theme of Alexia 2

The battle with Code Veronica's end boss, Alexia, lasts three stages. The first Alexia still resembles something human-like. The second? Not so much. Her third form is super agile as she transforms into a dragonfly-like creature. This theme plays during the tense battle. I love how haunting the vocals are especially when the vocalist hits those high notes. The catchy accompaniment isn't too shabby either!

v499. Mega Man IV - Dr. Cossack 2 mix

This song comes from the 20th Anniversary Rockman celebratory CD. There was a rock one, and there was a techno one. I greatly prefer the rock themes compared to techno. Regardless, this is the second stage of Dr. Cossack's lair. Of course, Wily was behind the whole thing yet again. I didn't spoil that for anyone, did I?

v500. Super Smash Bros. Brawl - Victory Theme Medley

Here it is. The 500th VGM to grace my list. It's been over a year since we've started, and here is my number 500 pick. It's all of the Super Smash Bros. Brawl victory themes rolled into one video. Seems fitting as a victory to 500 videos, no? They said it couldn't be done, but I proved them wrong! Well, actually no one said it couldn't be done, but that doesn't matter. There's also some bonus themes at the tale-end, too. Thanks for supporting my videos to all that have! May we see each other again 500 videos from now!

A new chapter of SuperPhillip's VGMs begins next week with a themed series of videos all based on one popular anime and video game franchise. Do you think you know what it is? We'll find out next week on SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs!

Reminder: The Sidebar is Your Friend.

May I draw your attention to the sidebar to your right? There is where you have access to a wide assortment of helpful links. Why, there's SPC's post archive listed by week and year, my profile where you can e-mail your SPC Mailbag questions and more, the affiliates section where all of my lovely friend sites hang out, the ability to follow me via RSS or Blogspot, the Central City Census slumbers, and two links of note:
The SPC Feature Catalog contains all of the special articles, editorials, SPC segments (SPC Mailbag, Review Round-Up, Central City Census, etc.), lists, and more. Meanwhile, the SPC Review Archive is where you can scavenge the nearly 200 unique reviews for games from the NES to the Wii. It's a part of SPC history, and the most celebrated part of the site.

Additionally, I urge all of my readers to send me comments after each story. It makes me wonder if I have any readers or if they're all spam bots! So keep your helpful comments and questions coming, dear friends! Until later today when SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs will be unleashed, have a great evening!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing (PS3) Demo Impressions

As if we weren't covering this game enough at SuperPhillip Central, the PlayStation 3 demo for Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing came out this past Thursday. What comes with it is one track, Billy's Hatcher's Blizzard Castle: Rampart Road which can be played one-player or split-screen with two players. The course is filled with simple twists and turns. The main obstacle of the stage are these chutes that shoot out giant eggs. These cross the track at several sections, plowing through anyone foolish enough to get in their way. The music that plays for the course is Tumbling Xylophone. Don't remember it? Check it out here. Anyway, the announcer describes the course while several different and impressive views of Rampart Road are shown. With the demo only two characters are selectable either Sonic who is all-around good and Eggman who specializes in high speed but is penalized with low acceleration. He's essentially your Bowser of the bunch.

The tracks promise to have tons of SEGA references in them.

Starting with the presentation, there's loads to be excited about and go gaga for. There's the announcer who didn't repeat himself too much during gameplay. Hopefully he can be turned off for some players out there. The visuals are very nice, the characters are animated well, the sense of speed is there, and the framerate of the PS3 demo is stable unlike that of the rushed 360 demo. That notwithstanding, we'll have to wait and see how the final product holds up.

Racing works similar to MySims Racing. As you powerslide you gain a boost. The longer you powerslide, the greater your boost. I guess I should use the term drifting as that's what the game calls it. Regardless, drifting feels natural and very tight. To also gain a boost, you can perform a trick in midair. Careful though because if you don't give yourself enough time to perform the trick, you spin out. On Rampart Road there was at least one spot where you could pull off a trick with ease. The 360 demo's track had several more.

Items were an afterthought in SEGA All-Stars Racing. It's true. SEGA asked for Sumo Digital, the developer, to put in items well into development. The items themselves are rather basic and what you would expect from a kart racer. There's homing missiles, regular missiles, shields, an item that turns everything upside down (again similar to MySims Racing), and the most coveted item being the All-Star powerup. This gives your racer a chance to shine with an exclusive ability. For instance, when Sonic uses his All-Star move, he uses the power of the Chaos Emeralds to turn into Super Sonic, jetting through the course, knocking any and everyone out of his way.

The controls were tight and responsive throughout my time with the demo. Either of the left shoulder buttons are used to drift while either of the right shoulder buttons are used to accelerate. Steering can be down with either the analog stick or d-pad. The square button is used to look behind you, and the X button is used to shoot out items. It's a very simple yet effective control setup. I'm sure it'll translate well regardless of what console you decide to play or dare I say purchase this game on.

Check out footage of the demo here!

My first attempt with Sonic netted me second place. It was the second attempt that earned me first place thanks to a third place position All-Star move. Overall, I'm really digging the game, and the wait for Thursday (when I'll get to play the game) is going to be a tough one for sure. There's only a few days left until Sonic and SEGA All-Stars hits all major platforms. Expect 20+ characters, 24 tracks, over 70 different songs, and 8-player online play (4 for the DS version). Catch the long anticipated verdict sometime in early March.