Thursday, December 2, 2010

Most Overlooked Wii Games - Part Six

I know what you're thinking-- Phil, just how many Wii games have been overlooked already? Well, first off, we're not on a first-name basis. Secondly, the Wii is loaded with games, and it's easy to see how so many can be overlooked. Plus apparently core games don't sell on Wii. I guess I could see that argument made without question. Regardless, let's take a check at five more forgotten Wii games. Maybe this list will allow you to scope out these games.

Red Steel 2

Strap your Wii MotionPlus in and get some action on, Wild West style. Gunplay and swordplay combine into glorious harmony as you take down rivals. Wii MotionPlus makes sword control a breeze. You can for one second be slicing down an enemy, and then quickly draw out your gun to blast them away to oblivion. A great game marred by the fact that Wii MotionPlus was required to play, leaving a lot of Wii owners in the cold.

Endless Ocean: Blue World

Beautiful ocean-diving as well as freshwater diving is what Endless Ocean: Blue Ocean is all about. Dive in and explore and uncover unique aquatic life as you solve the mystery of a forlorn whale call that brings devastation wherever it's heard. Do this all the while listening to a magnificent soundtrack made up by themes from Celtic Woman. It's a relaxing yet engaging title full of new discoveries in every dive.

MLB Power Pros

The little baseball players that could with a league of their own are out to play some ball. Customize your team with unique players with different talents and abilities and play some good old fashioned baseball. The adorable chibi players are cute to watch, and the gameplay (which does not use motion control) is as addicting as you'd expect from a bunch of big-headed baseball players. Hit home runs, steal bases, and rev up your RBI in this excellent baseball title.


This also adorable RPG is very unique from other RPGs as it solely uses the nunchuk controller to play. Walk around cities and spaceports? Use the analog stick. Battle evil monsters and other creatures identities unknown? Use the Z button. This unique control setup is just half the fun with a whimsical story involving a hero with a ball hovering over his head which he uses for a weapon. A niche game indeed explains why this one sold poorly.

MySims Racing

Rev up your engines as it's time to race. MySims franchise fatigue is my bet as to why this creative racer didn't race off store shelves. It's a competent Mario Kart clone with some brand-new ideas with it, and all, of course, with the charm of the MySims series. The fifteen tracks are well-designed with plenty of shortcuts and alternate paths to take. For the thirty bucks or less this racing game costs, it's worth at least a rental to test her out and see how she handles.

What Wii games do you think that are overlooked and haven't been listed? Let me know in the comments section. Wanna catch up on past Most Overlooked? You can do so now:

Wii - Part One
Wii - Part Two
Wii - Part Three
Wii - Part Four
Wii - Part Five

Later, fans and fanboys!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Central City Census - December

It's the final month of the year. December is the time where the leaves are dead, the snow is white, and we're freezing our asses off. Unless you live in the Southwest, of course, or in another country where the seasons are different. Regardless, let's see last month's Census!

Yes, two or more.
3 (7%)
Yes, just one.
9 (23%)
7 (18%)
No, not at all.
19 (50%)

Votes so far: 38

The question asked was whether or not SPC users would be getting a new platform (Wii, DS, etc) this holiday season. Most of you are not. All right! More money for more games! Three of you lucky bastards are getting two or more! Call Richie Rich, junior! A near half of you are or maybe are receiving at least one console this holiday season. Good stuff, and thanks for your votes. Now onto December's question.

The console wars are in full steam, and are heading down the finishing tracks. Or are they? Regardless, which console do you think had the best year?

Review Round-Up - November

These Kongs could do no wrong this month.

Remember that time when I was on hiatus for, like, three months, and I came back? That was awesome. But it gave me a LOT of work to do with new reviews to quench your thirsty selves, yes? Well, let's take a look at November's eight reviews. PokePark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure set the bar low with an average 5.5. Meanwhile, our top games are Donkey Kong Country Returns (9.5) and Sonic Colors (9.0). Man, who could have seen a 9.0 going to Sonic Colors coming? Certainly not I, dear friends. Additionally, I reviewed several other Wii titles like Sin & Punishment: Star Successor (8.0), Goldeneye 007 (8.25), and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (8.75). Lastly, the DS and PS3 got some game-reviewin' love with Mega Man Zero Collection (8.25) and ModNation Racers (8.75). A great month after a long hiatus, wouldn't you say?

Sin & Punishment: Star Successor (Wii) - 8.0
ModNation Racers (PS3) - 8.75
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (Wii) - 8.75
Goldeneye 007 (Wii) - 8.25
PokePark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure (Wii) - 5.5
Mega Man Zero Collection (DS) - 8.25
Sonic Colors (Wii) - 9.0
Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii) - 9.5

Sonic speeds into a great score from SPC.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii) Review

It's already the end of the month, but I got my Donkey Kong Country Returns review in on time! Hooray, Philly! Ahem. Swing, cling, and go carting with Donkey and Diddy in their newest, long-overdue romp in Donkey Kong Country Returns for Wii.

It's on like Donkey-- *gets sued for a million dollars by Nintendo*

It has been thirteen-some odd years since the last epic edition of Donkey Kong Country. At last we saw the Kongs, a girl with a mad hairspin and chunky toddler named Kiddy were heroes of their own game. Now Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong are taking back their game via Retro Studios with Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Nintendo Wii. Is this game as fun as a barrel of monkeys, or will this game leave its players kong-fused? God, those were pitiful puns. Moving forward!

Donkey Kong and Diddy are resting in their banana bungalow on DK Island when suddenly a volcano erupts, letting loose a myriad of troublesome tiki pests. Their objective? To steal DK's banana horde while hypnotizing the local wildlife into doing their bidding. Diddy Kong watches in anger as the terrible tikis run off with Donkey Kong's banana stash. Meanwhile, a tiki enters DK's bedroom and attempts to cast the same hypnotic spell on the ferocious ape, but to no effect. So DK clobbers the ruthless tiki out of his home, and thus starts the quest to recapture DK's stolen banana horde.

Open wide~!

Donkey Kong Country Returns isn't an exact replica of the Super Nintendo trilogy. There's some changes. For instance, in solo play, Diddy rides atop Donkey Kong's back and can hover for a limited amount of time. Another change is that each Kong now gets two hits instead of just one. While playing solo, players will lose Diddy if the team gets hit twice. They'll lose a life if they get hit four times (Donkey's two lives plus Diddy's two lives). More so, continue barrels have been replaced by a tutorial pig who waves a checkpoint flag when DK and Diddy cross his path. Most levels have multiple continue points to make this challenging game feel fairer. Additionally, Donkey Kong and Diddy can now cling and climb on grassy walls and ceilings. Lastly in this game, DK and Diddy can ground pound and blow on flowers to uncover hidden goodies. This is all mapped to waggling the Wii remote.

They don't call him the King of Cling for nothing!

Which brings us to the controls. They take getting used to as shaking the Wii remote takes up three different commands. Holding the analog stick left or right while shaking (nunchuk controls are only used in this game) will cause Donkey or Diddy to roll. Holding the stick down while waggling will initiate DK or Diddy to blow, and finally, the ground pound is performed by holding the stick in a neutral position while wildly moving the Wii remote and nunchuk. Again it takes getting used to, but unless you're an incompetent person you'll have it down by the first world's completion.

Also new to the Donkey Kong Country franchise is kooky cooperative play. That's correct-- a second player can take control of Diddy as you play through the levels totally together. In some ways this is easier and some it's harder. For bosses, if one of you perish you can press the 1 button to send a DK barrel down to your partner to revive your lost Kong. Other places where there's little room to maneuver, it's a pain. Sometimes it's better to just have Diddy ride Donkey Kong's back in such sections.

This octopus stalks DK throughout this level.

The new editions to Donkey Kong Country knows no bounds as this time around collecting the K-O-N-G letters fiendishly hidden or in plain sight no longer grant the player a 1-up. Instead it's much more important to capture these elusive letters. Getting all the K-O-N-G letters in all of the levels of a given area unlocks a temple level. These levels will test your platforming prowess as they are the most difficult levels in the game. Even the first area's temple is no cakewalk. Kongs don't even like cake-- unless it's banana-flavored. Also hidden among the lecherous letters are puzzle pieces. There can be up to nine in a given level or as little as five. Regardless, these babies are well-hidden preaching to the player to seek out every nook and cranny of a given level. Completing puzzle piece collection in a level earns you a new image to look at in the image gallery while beating the boss of an area gives you the music from that world to listen to as well as a diorama.

Onto the level design which is spectacular. Sometimes these levels require memorization such as the ravishing rocket barrel levels where you steadily press the A button to lift up you rocket barrel to avoid hateful hazards that are a one-hit kill. Or even the mine cart levels where sometimes lucky leaps are the way to pass through them. You'll go crazy in one level where your mine cart falls into a circular rail which rolls down a hill as you leap over the only gap in the rail in a continuous fashion. That's just in the fourth world! Later worlds are full of perilous platforming, hard-to-judge jumps, and rude dudes with attitudes (speaking of the enemies here).

Too busy to focus on the beautiful scenery
while playing, so do it now!

Each area in the game has its own theme. There's the Jungle, Beach, Ruins, Cave, Forest, Cliff, Factory, and Volcano areas. Each of these areas ends with a climactic confrontation with a beastly boss. Some are as simple as waiting for the baddie to charge and then hopping on its exposed weakpoint. Others are more complicated having you ground pound switches on revolving circular platforms to make the malevolent monstrous boss weak enough to attack him. The final boss is the most challenging because unless you have Diddy with you, you only have Donkey Kong's two hearts of health to survive the bodacious battle.

"Don't mind me, good sir, I'm here for a shellacking.'

Small things like bonus rooms return as well where the goal is to capture all the loot in the room before time runs out. What you receive for this dangerous deed is a puzzle piece. Even the names of the levels have that classic DKC alliteration, the same type I've been overdoing on purpose in this review.

Visually, DKC Returns is an impressive beast. The levels are colorful and detailed, the backgrounds are great to look at, and there's plenty of Easter eggs to uncover in the scenery. Never before possible in a DKC game since we were all playing on a 16-bit system is the ability to jump between foreground and background with the help of barrels. It's cool looking at something in the background, and then being able to platform on it. Bravo, Retro Studios. Bravo. Sound-wise, Metroid composer, Kenji Yamamoto heads the musical directing duties. There's remixes of nearly every original Donkey Kong Country theme including Aquatic Ambiance, Fear Factory, and Life in the Mines. Whether the new stuff meshes well with the old is up to the player. I don't think it sounds as good, but that's all water under the bridge. It's still a stellar soundtrack.

Ultimately, this kid-friendly game might be more for the retro crowd who have the patience for the sometimes brutal difficulty of the game. Even so, cooperative play is a suggestion for one more experienced to play with a less experienced player. Although Rambi the Rhino is the only returning ride-able animal in the game, he controls very well and feels like riding a rhino should. Because we all know I ride rhinos in my spare time.

Regardless, the level design is some of the best the series has ever seen, the visuals are vibrant and vivacious, and the music is oftentimes soothing and fitting of the level you're in. Without a doubt, Donkey Kong Country Returns is one of the best 2D platformers in quite some time, rivaling the excellent New Super Mario Bros. Wii. For a hardcore platformer that will take quite a while to complete, you can't go wrong with Donkey Kong Country Returns.

[SuperPhillip Says: 9.5/10]

Monday, November 29, 2010

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Full-Bellied Edition

Thanksgiving weekend has come and gone, so now it's time to get back to business here at SuperPhillip Central. Time to show some brand-new VGMs with the community. This week we have some titans in God of War, Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, and Final Fantasy XIII as well as lesser-known games like Super Princess Peach and Kirby Air Ride. It's bound to be a good edition of the VGMs. Just don't fill your bellies too much.

v611. God of War - Minotaur Boss Battle

We go from one boss battle theme with chanting to another with God of War's Minotaur Boss Battle. In order to defeat this minotaur menace, you had to drive a wooden stake through its chest. And I'm not talking about some one foot stake either. I'm talking a huge, massive stake through a huge, massive creature. The battle was immensely satisfying to partake in, and it's definitely one of the highlights of the original God of War for me.

v612. Super Princess Peach - Bowser's Villa 1

I'm doing my best to keep this a theme-free week. Perhaps that's the theme of the week! I can't stay away from it after all! Regardless, RNolan## requested some more Super Princess Peach music, so here is my sample. It's one of the final levels in the game, Bowser's Villa 1 full of fire and fearsome foes. The game is still one of the more criminally underrated and overlooked DS games on the market, so if you have a chance to pick up a copy, please do so. Do it for the nonexistent children!

v613. Kirby Air Ride - Celestial Valley

This next track comes from another happy-go-lucky hero, Kirby. Whereas Princess Peach participated in platforming peril, Kirby is racing his little heart out in Kirby Air Ride. This theme comes from the second course in the Air Ride mode, Celestial Valley. Kirby Air Ride came with three modes: Air Ride, the main racing mode, Top Ride, the Super Off-Road style perspective mode, and City Trial which put players in a city duking it out for power-ups and prestige. It was a great, fun, interesting racer which I recommend.

v614. Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles - The Theme of Alexia I

We listened to part II of the theme of Alexia, the main antagonist of Code Veronica X, already. Now after a bit of a vacation, here's part I. It's just as haunting if not even more so as part II if not slower paced. The Darkside Chronicles is my second favorite rail shooter ever. It combines the mythos, the cool gunplay, the action-packed set pieces, and of course, the music of the Resident Evil series and puts them into bite-sized packages. Pick up a copy of the game if you have any interest in the franchise and a Wii.

v615. Final Fantasy XIII - Blinded by Light (Extended Version)

Blinded By Light is the battle theme of Final Fantasy XIII, a game I've been turned off of playing due to player input. The game seems a bit too linear and challenging for my liking. Plus why play a 50 hour RPG when you could be playing five 10 hour games instead? Catch my drift? This catchy battle theme does have me sort of interested. Keywords are "sort of". I doubt I'll ever play this thirteenth epic in the illustrious Final Fantasy franchise.

There goes my dinner just now. I must have had way too much VGMs for one week. This must mean our time together today is now over. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed my VGMs this week.