Wednesday, August 3, 2011

SPC Showdown - 8/3/2011

It's the middle of the week, so why not begin our sixth segment of the SPC Showdown? This is where we pit games, companies, and more against each other to see which reigns supreme when all is said and done. Today we'll discover which installment of Super Mario Galaxy is best, whether ModNation Racers can outrun Mario Kart Wii, and which Final Fantasy experience on Wii outshines the other. That's just the beginning, but for now let's get this showdown started!

Round One: Super Mario Galaxy VS. Super Mario Galaxy 2

Two of the best games on the Nintendo Wii-- nay, this generation-- bar-none, but which is king of the 3D platformer?

Super Mario Galaxy

Mario and company enter territory last seen in Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins' Space Land in Super Mario Galaxy. With colorful worlds, rich visuals, an inspired orchestral score, and well-designed galaxies, Super Mario Galaxy is a treat to view as well as play. Reintroducing ideas such as the fire flower and presenting new ones such as the ice flower, Super Mario Galaxy keeps showing that Nintendo knows how to craft one amazing gaming experience.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

Reentering the stratosphere once more for some good old fashioned running and jumping action is Mario with pal, Yoshi, this time around in Super Mario Galaxy 2. The challenge bar has been raised this time with multiple shadow Marios chasing after our hero, endurance runs to tackle where a single hit will make Mario have to begin his mission anew, and big bad bosses to defeat. Those who complete all of these challenges will be entitled to a whole new series of stars to gather, and if all of those are collected, a brand-new galaxy, the Grandmaster Galaxy will be unlocked. It is with this, an improved soundtrack and galaxies, and unforgettable galaxies to explore that I bid Super Mario Galaxy 2 with this victory.

Winner: Super Mario Galaxy 2

Round Two: Super Mario Bros. 3 VS. Super Mario World

This duo of memorable 2D platformers are the champs of their respective systems, but which one outclasses the other?

Super Mario Bros. 3

Introducing a map system where players could completely skip individual levels if desired (but with how great they were all designed, who would want to?), Mario and Luigi plowed through eight themed lands in their latest adventure. From grass to desert, water to sky, Mario and Luigi bashed goombas, koopa troopas, lakitus, spinies, and even creamed Bowser in the end after a long, arduous trek through a tank-infested dark world. This game would be remade and ported to the Super Nintendo and Game Boy Advance with the latter receiving new levels via the doomed e-Reader peripheral. Does it take down Super Mario World, however?

Super Mario World

For the first time ever, players were introduced to Mario's lovable sidekick, Yoshi, a dinosaur who could gobble up certain enemies and came in several different colors. Expanding upon the map concept severalfold, Super Mario World featured secret paths leading to hidden levels, a challenging Star Road and Special World, and completing these turned koopa troopas into costumed Mario impersonators. Who could forget tackling all eight worlds, defeating the Koopalings, and chucking Mechakoopas into Bowser's cruiser in order to defeat him and save Yoshi's homeland? Plus with the new cape power-up, flying was never easier. It is with this that Super Mario World wins over a fierce opponent.

Winner: Super Mario World

Round Three: Mario Kart Wii VS. ModNation Racers

Two racers revving it up, ready to go. Which will reach the finish line first?

Mario Kart Wii

Doing away with snaking by having the player drift long into a boost around corners and turns, Mario Kart Wii did a lot of things right. Yes, with twelve racers that meant more chaos with items in heated races, but competent players could obtain enough of a lead where a barrage of blue shells wouldn't matter in the long run. With a fine selection of retro tracks including Delfino Plaza and Bowser's Castle (N64) and excellent new tracks from Coconut Mall to DK Summit, Mario Kart Wii also possesses some of the most fun online play to see the Wii. Does it speed past United Front Games' ModNation Racers, however?

ModNation Racers

Sony's foray into the kart-racing genre was not without faults. Regardless, it was a very innovative gem of a title. The ability to craft your own racer, tracks, and stickers was a pretty complicated process, but once mastered, you could build highly-detailed and impressive creations. But if you thought rubberband AI was a problem in Mario Kart, you ain't seen nothing yet in ModNation Racers. Opponents will abuse weaponry to take the lead from you, slam you off the road, and use any means necessary to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Frustrating as this may be, ModNation Racers is still a competent beast. It, though, just doesn't beat out Mario Kart Wii.

Winner: Mario Kart Wii

Round Four: Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon VS. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers

We have a duo of underrated Final Fantasy games for the Nintendo Wii. Which is the most classic of the two?

Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon

This simplistic roguelike took players through dungeons based on the memories of the game's main village's townspeople. As Chocobo you equipped talons and other garments and entered their memories, beating down familiar Final Fantasy villains such as bombs, goblins, and iron giants in your quest to figure out the mystery behind the town. With the best arrangements of classic Final Fantasy tunes period and quite engaging gameplay, Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon is a charming adventure that many Wii owners shouldn't hesitate to experience.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers

Finally, a Final Fantasy hero who isn't androgynous! The hero of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers has the power to pick up foes and chuck them into walls, explosive barrels, or other enemies in order to damage them. While the main quest is nothing more than a collection of high-production mini games, The Crystal Bearers possesses a great amount of things to do and enemies to conquer. However, all the running around and tremendous music aside, it has nothing on Final Fantasy Fables.

Winner: Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon

Round Five: Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus VS. Sly 2: Band of Thieves

The Sly Collection recently was released in HD for the PlayStation 3. The top two titles in the compendium go up against each other. Which outwits the other?

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Sly Cooper debuts in this cool caper that was originally released for the PlayStation 2. The sneaky raccoon would receive two sequels on the same system. In this title Sly goes after the sinister group of criminals involved in stealing his family's coveted treasure, the Thievius Raccoonus, a book featuring all of their family's stealthy moves. Each boss in the game has a page, so Sly leaps on poles, crawls through air ducts, swings from chandeliers, and performs other otherworldly feats of dexterity to get them back. More linear in progression than its sequels, that may be the reason I like the original Sly Cooper game.

Sly 2: Band of Thieves

Progressing more into an open-world-like game, Sly 2: Band of Thieves opened up the gameplay for Bentley and Murray to step in and tackle their own missions. Each world was its own heist. Bentley planned it out to the finest detail, and the trio of thieves would converge on the baddie's hideout, taking out objectives and missions. The goal? To stop a new group of villains from reincarnating Clockwerk, the Cooper family's sworn enemy. While the sequel isn't as enjoyable as the first, Sly 2: Band of Thieves is still worthy of one's money.

Winner: Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus


Five rounds are over, and with that, we've completed yet another SPC Showdown. Stay tuned in the coming months for our next showdown where more games, more companies, and much more will duke it out for supremacy. Until next time, see ya'!

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