Friday, January 28, 2011

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) Guest Review

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was Runner-Up for GotY in 2009 to New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Nonetheless, you can probably tell that the tone of the following guest review will be positive, yes? Watch as my brother demonstrates his writing and reviewing prowess with this review (FINALLY) of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves for the PlayStation 3.

Single-player review only.

You know, there are some people out there that say that “some reviews just write themselves”. I’m here to tell you that is a complete lie. I mean, this next game won Superphillip Central’s PS3 Game of the Year for 2009 and was second only to New Super Mario Bros. Wii as the overall Game of the Year. Did that review write itself? No, it didn’t. Instead, it just sat around the house doing nothing but mooch off of our hard work, and... What? You mean, it’s just meant as an expression? Oh, for crying out loud! Well, it’s finally time for the SPC to bring you a review of the PS3's Uncharted 2. Does it still hold up after all this time, or am I just trying to think of a tag line to anticlimactically build up suspense for a game we all know is going to get a good score? Take a wild guess.

Having made the Crash Bandicoot (PS1) and Jak & Daxter (PS2) series on past generations of consoles, Naughty Dog decided to go a bit more human with their PS3 attempt. Taking a bit from Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider, and some other third-person shooters and voila. Uncharted hit PS3 consoles in 2007. The game was well received by critics that don’t matter and fans that do, but that’s not to say that the game wasn’t without its issues. Chapters had issues with pacing at times, the game had an overabundance of quick-time events, and the game felt the need to use Sixaxis controls for things such as shaking off enemies or even throwing grenades. I’m glad to say that with Uncharted 2, all of these issues were either corrected, toned down, or removed outright from the game, making this title much more fun to run through than its predecessor.

Uncharted 2 plops you right into Nathan Drake’s shoes as he’s almost at death’s door. Right off the bat, you’re asked to get used to the game’s climbing controls which have also improved since the original. You can now jump while climbing poles to get to your next death-defying leap faster as well as being able to rotate around certain corners to continue on with your ascent. Having that added freedom of movement really makes those segments much more fun when you come across them.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, combat has become much more fun to deal with as well thanks to getting rid of unwanted timed button presses. How many times in the first game did you run up to a guard, try to execute a brutal combo, only to miss out on the slightly strict timing by a millisecond and be pushed off all the while other guards shot you down. Maybe I was just bad at the game, but still, in Uncharted 2, that issue is a thing of the past. The only time you’ll need to hit triangle is to counter an opponent’s counter. This allows you to just worrying about pressing the square button to punch your foes out, creating a much better flow to the game.

It’s not just the close-quarters combat that’s improved either as the controls have been changed up slightly for grenades. Instead of having to switch out for a gun to use them, you can just use the L2 button to toss them while keeping yourself ready to pull a trigger on any foes that are closing in on your position. Even better, you change the arc of your grenades by moving the camera around instead of having to tilt your controller with those odd Sixaxis controls. You’ll need the better controls, too, because there will be times when you’re being shot from multiple angles by a nearly overwhelming number of foes.

The enemies you’ll deal with are a bit smarter than the ones in the first game, too. Oh, you’ll still have a few guys that rush in like fools, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting picked off by a few foes from afar while another enemy with a shield rushes in. What are you going to do? Well, you’ve got plenty of options. You could deal the damage to shield guy as he gets closer and eventually run up to him, stomp on his shield, and get in a quick kill from behind to take the thing, but do you have the time? Or would it serve you better to shoot the guys in the background before the person with the riot shield can close in? And if it’s a case where the enemies have yet to spot you, it’s your call as to whether you want to use the game’s increased emphasis on stealth to takedown everyone in an area or go guns blazing. It’s generally best to keep a low profile, but it’s always nice to have that option.

The variety in the gameplay is matched by the number of locales you’ll be taking Nathan through. You’ll journey through mountaintops, a war-torn desert city, and yes, jungle-like environments not unlike the ones you’d find in the first game. Basically, the areas you go through all have the same concept of how to progress, but it really helps things out when the areas are so diverse. In the first game, you’d be backtracking through certain parts of areas a few times during different chapters. That’s not the case here as although there is some backtracking, it will generally be self-contained within a chapter. Again, it helps to keep the pace going in the right direction, and it does just that for most of the game’s twenty-six chapters. Said chapters are longer than the ones in the first game, too, making the game top off at around the ten hour mark. That’s pretty good for a game with gunplay in this generation.

There are times where the pace will slow down, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything for Nathan to do. Puzzles return from the first game, and these ones generally have a bit more platforming involved to solve or even reach them in some cases. Even the ones that are within peaceful rooms aren’t too tough to figure out as long as you make sure to take a good look at Nathan’s journal. I don’t want to go into detail on these as to avoid spoiling the game for you, but I think as long as you’re paying attention, you’ll be all right.

As a single player game, Uncharted 2 really delivers one of the most fun experiences I’ve had this generation. It starts off strong and rarely lets up, and even when it does, you know that the game is just building to another high-octane gameplay scene. Wait, did I just say “as a single player game”? That’s right, and the reason why is that Uncharted 2 also adds multiplayer to the mix, both in co-op and competitive styles. I didn’t get a chance to sit down and play those as much as I would have liked thanks to our bad internet connection over the last month, but I have seen enough to know that there’s a good time to be had online, too.

Overall, Uncharted 2 gets so much right that it truly is one of the Playstation 3's premiere games. There were some odd physics glitches that I’ve come across on subsequent playthroughs, but I do know that I didn’t let that stand in the way of the fun I had playing this title. I’m sure most of you will feel the same way, so that’s why I have to recommend Uncharted 2 as a game that you should play if you’re a PS3 owner. I’m sure it will be on the top of your PS3 games’ chart as well.

[Overall: 9.25/10]

Thursday, January 27, 2011

RE: Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts (360)

For those of you who have never seen this feature before, RE: is a second opportunity to take another look at a game that was reviewed on SPC and reexamine it after the hype has settled down. These are not revisionist reviews. No score will be given to these reexaminations. In a nutshell, that's what RE: is all about. Today's subject is the overlooked Xbox 360 sales disaster in Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. All screenshots in this article were created by myself using the in-game photo tool. Let's get to it and do it!

History lesson time. Way back when in the early 2000s, Microsoft purchased Rare after Nintendo willingly sold all of their shares. Since then, Rare has struggled to find an identity among the shooter-loving populace of the Xbox brand. Sure, they've seen million sellers in Perfect Dark Zero, their own attempt at a shooter, and also in Viva Pinata, but only after the title went down to twenty dollars. Anyway, my point is that through all the Perfect Dark Zeroes and Viva Pinatas (and now Kinect Sports), there was a financial failure in Kameo: Elements of Power, Conker: Live and Reloaded, Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise, and yes, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts for the 360.

When Microsoft took full control over Rare, gamers everywhere were dreaming of a Banjo-Threeie as not-so-subtly hinted by the previous sequel. What would it look like in glorious HD? What trials would be presented to collect those precious Jiggies? What worlds would Banjo and Kazooie explore? Would Mumbo-Jumbo be a playable character once again? Would there be multiplayer of some sort? Those kinds of questions were asked. When a teaser trailer showed a new Banjo model, things started getting dicey. Fans cried, "What did they do to Banjo?" Eventually the new art style grew on gamers, thankfully. The teaser trailer showed a colorful world, Spiral Mountain, in fabulous HD. There were musical notes, Jiggies, and other collectables in plain view. It seemed like this would be a return to form.

Then one E3 came by (or was it an Xbox-exclusive event?), and suddenly, worlds were shattered, crashing to the ground in solemn distress. The game featured vehicles: planes, cars, and hovercrafts! No longer were Banjo and Kazooie traversing the game worlds on foot anymore. Instead, they rode these vehicles, smashed through a Mario-like statue, and showed off the vehicles in a cool trailer. However, this was confusing to Banjo fans such as myself. What was this? What did they do to Banjo?

When more news was gathered, it turned out Banjo and Kazooie, along with their arch-nemesis, Gruntilda, were transported to Showdown Town by the Lord of Games, or L.O.G. L.O.G. was sick of the bickering between the trio of cute and cuddly characters and wanted them to face off once and for all. By acquiring and collecting Jiggies, Banjo and Kazooie could face off against Gruntilda in unique battle and mini-game scenarios. It also turned out that Showdown Town was essentially the platforming hub of the game. Sure, Banjo could hop out of a vehicle at any time in the five or six game worlds, but Showdown Town was where this was actually necessary to collect musical notes, the currency of the game, and find new passageways and worlds.

But how would Jiggies be collected in this game? Would they be sitting there-- waiting for Banjo and Kazooie to collect them like in previous games? Not at all. In Nuts and Bolts, side-characters waited in the many acts and worlds of the game, assigning timed tasks to both Banjo and Kazooie. The goal was to finish the task in the set time limit to acquire a Jiggy. But that wasn't enough. Banjo would then have to drive the Jiggy to Showdown Town's center plaza for the Jiggy to count towards his collection. These aforementioned goals included boarding a plane or battle helicopter (something with firepower) and shooting the patches off of Mr. Patch from Banjo-Tooie's Witchyworld. Another was a race around Nutty Acres against Mr. Fit or a soccer match between idle goaltenders.

There was a certain amount of strategy in choosing a vehicle. You could be boring and select a pre-made vehicle, or you could be creative and construct one yourself. Of course, build a lopsided car, and you won't go far. I wasn't being cute and intentionally rhyming like Gruntilda there, either. Anyway, you needed to be smart about car, copter, or craft construction. You received construction kits and blueprint designs from Mumbo's Garage. You made new vehicles from said parts. Should you add more ammo to a copter, and risk having it be too heavy to move? Perhaps add less ammo to your copter, so it is light, fast, and aerodynamic?

Going back to the soccer scenario, you could work on your vehicle, mid-mini-game. The main goal of this mini-game to earn a Jiggy was to somehow push seven or so soccer balls through the net before time ran out. I tried a combination of vehicles here. First I used a battering ram to blast the balls toward the net. This lacked the precision I needed, so I built a pusher vehicle with a wide claw to hold one or two soccer balls. I then drove carefully through the goaltenders to reach the net. This method lacked efficiency. There was no way I could do this task in the time allotted. Then, your good buddy SuperPhillip got smart. Why not build a vehicle with a large basket on top? I could use Kazooie's wand to lift the balls into the basket, holding six or seven at once, drive the cart of soccer balls through the goal, and win the game easily? That's exactly what I did, and I handily beat the challenge, earned my Jiggy, and went back home to Showdown Town.

That's just one example of the flexibility of Nuts and Bolts. It's truly up to your imagination in how you want to tackle a given challenge. Sacrifice speed for strength? Strength for speed? It's all up to you.

As you unlocked more Jiggies, new acts of the various worlds would open. Acts featured the same level but with new challenges to take on. There were usually up to six acts per level. Each level featured a new theme from the farm-like, volcano-like expansive world of Nutty Acres to the Roman arena of the Jiggoseum. There was even a world dedicated to Banjo's past exploits in Banjoland with a fitting medley included.

Visually, the new look of Banjo and Kazooie was jarring at first. What was this atrocity? Now, I very much enjoy the bear and bird's new looks. The graphics of Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts are simply amazing. In Nutty Acres you can easily see across the entire map. The draw distance is incredible. Neat visual effects like distortion when flying through the steam of a volcano makes for a great experience. All-in-all, Rare, as always, certainly knows how to get the most of a given hardware. Audio-wise, the same grunts for voice work are present in Nuts and Bolts. They're still as charming as ever. Speaking of audio, the music is just perfect. Hearing familiar themes orchestrated or played with real live instruments was a thing of beauty. It's just all-around impressive from top to bottom.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts might not have been the Banjo-Threeie fans may have wanted. Sales certainly suggest that. Perhaps using new characters instead of shoehorning Banjo and Kazooie into the game would have been a better idea. However, it is a great game deserving of your time regardless of that. There's so much creativity oozing from the surface. The worlds may be big and empty, and some of the challenges may be infuriating, but show patience and you will be rewarded. Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts gets a big, solid recommendation from yours truly.

What games would you like to see given the RE: treatment? Let me know in the SuperPhillip Central comments section.

Marvel VS. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (PS3, 360) Sentinel/Hsien-Ko Gameplay

These two characters were leaked in a German gaming magazine. Well, actually Lupinko leaked the entire roster way before the game even revealed anyone! Nonetheless, the Sentinel from the X-Men series and Hsien-Ko show off their destructive and unique powers in these two, newest character reveal videos. Marvel VS. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (PS3, 360) hits shelves mid-February, February 15th.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Top Ten Most Overlooked Wii Games Period

We've been doing the Most Overlooked Wii Games feature on SuperPhillip Central for two years now. I think it's about time we compile the most overlooked of the most overlooked into one concise list-- a top ten, if you will. Here are the top ten Wii games that most of you just didn't care to try. As always, feel free to bitch and moan like little girls when your favorite doesn't make the list.

10) Red Steel 2

The whole needs MotionPlus thing probably was the death of this title. Plus it was coming off of a poor original game in the launch-title, Red Steel. However, unlike the first Red Steel, Red Steel 2 was actually fun and played well. With MotionPlus in hand, your cowboy western samurai deals death to his opponents. Change from sword stance to gunplay in a flash with the intuitive controls. Taking down enemies was not only enjoyable, but it simply made you feel like a badass. And you WERE a badass.

9) Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon

This easier roguelike featured the main mascot of the Final Fantasy series, Chocobo. In this game, the premise was that the town of the game had lost their memories. To recover them, Chocobo must enter labyrinth-like arenas, taking down enemies one-by-one, picking up treasure, beating up bosses, and retrieving the townspeople's lost memories. Add in many odes to the mainline Final Fantasy games, and you have a nostalgia trip covered in a very incredible game.

8) The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces

With a stirring soundtrack, anime scenes, and high-flying dogfights, The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces was an early 2010 title that attracted no attention whatsoever. Sure, it came from the same team that worked on the Ace Combat games, but who cares about that outside of Japan? Nonetheless, the aerial combat was intense and gratifying. Yes, some missions were imbalanced, but overall the game was well put together and featured some breath-taking visuals.

7) Little King's Story

A young lad becomes king of a starving village. By expanding the kingdom, recruiting soldiers, taking down bastard bosses, and winning the love of various princesses, the young king creates an expansive kingdom, yes, fit for a king. The Pikmin-like gameplay features multiple unit types from bridge-builders to enemy-attacking soldiers perfect for getting the job done in combat. Just don't let the little king take damage! Featuring remixed classical music, Little King's Story is one wild ride.

6) Opoona

A childish RPG where all you used was your Wii remote's nunchuk, Opoona is a fascinating specimen. On one hand, it's quite difficult to complete all the side quests and bonus content, and on the other, it's just so gosh-darned cute. I mean, look at those screenshots! What's up with that ball over Opoona's head? Anyway, the game sports lush visuals, an easy-to-understand, tough-to-master combat system, and a score by the same composer who worked on the Final Fantasy Tactics series. What more can you ask for in an RPG?

5) Blast Works: Build, Trade, Destroy

Before LittleBigPlanet (SPC's GotY 2008), there was a twenty dollar budget title that allowed you to create your very own shmups. Whether they were scrolling upward or left-to-right, you had the power to create your own enemies, hero vessels, background set pieces, and levels. The game also came with its own unique title where exploded enemy ships would have their parts attached to your ship to make one giant, impenetrable flying fortress of doom. Just watch out for your own hit box!

4) Klonoa

The floppy-eared protagonist is back in this remake of Door to Phantomile, the PS1 classic that also sold poorly. With little in the way of advertisements, it's an unfortunate truth that this game would not do well. Regardless, this 2 1/2D platformer featured some awesome level design, tricky platforming puzzles, and exquisite visuals. The ending is probably one of the most "WTF did that come from" moments in gaming history. Whether you're a fan of felines or a fan of a good jump and run, Klonoa is under thirty, so get it today.

3) A Boy and His Blob

Made by WayForward, the company best known for their work on Shantae, this overlooked gem was a new chapter on the old Nintendo Entertainment System classic of the same name. It was a game whose heroes were simply a nameless boy and a blob. Together you solved puzzles, tackled many foes, and transformed into one of many forms from the fun rocket to the trampoline. Using the correct ability at the correct time made all the difference between success and failure. Plus, how can you not have your heart warmed to all those blob hugs?

2) The Munchables

Katamari Damacy meets Pac-man in the Munchables, a game about gobbling up as many enemies as possible. Of course, that's not as simple as it sounds. Your munchable can only eat up enemies that are smaller than him or her. As your munchable gobbles up as many enemies as possible, it grows larger, allowing it to chow down on larger enemies until it reaches the goal. This game was SO overlooked that SuperPhillip Central was the honest-to-goodness first review of the game. That's just sad.

1) Excitebots: Trick Racing

SUPER SANDWICH! Did I get your attention yet? Then perhaps SUPER SIDEBAR, SUPER TREE RUN, and SUPER SMASH will garner it? The goal of Excitebots is not just to become first, but to do it in style. In order to actually win, you need to earn stars. How do you earn stars, you ask? By performing stunts and tricks while racing. Getting first, of course, helps, but it's not the be-all end-all. A great game to just have wacky racing fun, Excitebots: Trick Racing is definitely a winner in my book.


Perhaps my list is not adequate enough for you. Would you like to share your own top ten of the Wii's most overlooked games? Be my guest.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

NBA Jam (Wii) Review

You can also find this game on the PS3 and 360 gaming consoles. The only differences are controls and the addition of online play (plus the rage-quitters that are a part of that sort of thing). Regardless, I recently picked up this game from Amazon for about twenty-seven dollars. It was a fair price, I thought, but you could probably find it for cheaper if you did some digging. Anyway, this review is exclusively for the Wii version, but you really cannot lose going for any of the three versions quite honestly.


One of the sports that I do not really find the appeal for is basketball. I see it on TNT or ESPN, realize there's no St. Louis team, and go back to watching House or Cowboy Bebop. Nonetheless, video game basketball does appeal to me. Now I don't know the teams nor do I know the players. Sure, I know the Carmelos and the Lebrons, but beyond those fresh faces, I'm perplexed by these new-fangled names. I'm using NBA Jam, a blast from the past perfect for the new millennium, as a teaching tool to get to learn some new talent in the NBA. Back in the early nineties, the NBA Jam games were highly popular. There was, of course, the excellent arcade game that mooched many quarters from young wannabe athletes as they played as the dream team of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Then came home versions for the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive and the Super Nintendo.

A bit of history toward the development of the game for you folks unaware. NBA Jam was originally announced exclusively for the Wii. There was a promise of online play. Then it turned out you could get NBA Jam free with a copy of the ill-fated, bug-ridden NBA Elite for the PS3 and 360. It did not feature all the modes that the Wii version had, but it did have online which the Wii build did not. Essentially word spread that only two programmers were actually working on the online aspect of the Wii version showing EA's continued care and charisma regarding their loyal Wii fanbase. Nonetheless, what every console wound up with was a full-retail version of their own with all modes included, motion controls for the Wii, and online play for the PS3 and 360.

I believe I can fly...

The Wii version's single-player modes is divided up of two components. The one is the main campaign where you choose a team from the twenty-something (I'm talking from my ass here, sorry) teams. You than play six rows of six teams. Every sixth game is a legends battle where you take on two old-school players. Unfortunately, Michael Jordan would not lend his name to this game, or I'd be dunking like MJ with tongue waggling out of his mouth as he does it all day. Nonetheless, there's legends like Bill Laimbeer (of the great SNES Bill Laimbeer Combat Basketball fame... sarcasm implied), Magic Johnson, Dennis Rodman (the stuff of nightmares), and Larry Bird, for starters. Each game is played in four quarters of three minutes each. Obviously, the team of two with the highest score win. If you lose the game, you simply restart it. No harm, no foul. Well, since this is NBA Jam, there definitely aren't any fouls, but there is goal-tending. WAH-WAH-WAH.

The other mode is the Remix Campaign. This is divided up between divisions. As you earn enough points by completing various mini-games, you unlock new divisions to play in, boss battles to partake in, and league domination in the process. The various mini-games include Domination where the goal is to shoot the ball from spots on a half-court. Shots made means your team owns possession of that spot and accordingly earns points for that spot. The first team to reach 100 points is the victor. There's Smash where you're simply trying to destroy the opposing team's backboard via slam dunks and alley-oops. It's riveting to see your opponent's backboard shatter in a million shards on the final dunk. There's simple games like 21 where the premise is to be the first player to 21 points. Simple enough, right? Then there's Elimination where the player with the least amount of points by clock's end winds ups exterminated. Not literally, mind you, though that would make things much more interesting! Finally, there's the special remix mode. Unlike the other modes of remix, this mode is played on a full court. It's like normal NBA Jam except with power-ups like a quickening power-up, strength power-up, shrinking power-up, among others. There's three difficulty levels to each team you face in Remix Tour mode-- bronze, silver, and gold. The harder the difficulty, the harder the challenge.

Regular NBA Jam games are played on a full court with a horizontal perspective of the court. An opening tip-off decides who gains possession of the ball first. Three-pointers are fair game, but the big show here are the dunks. When a player scores three shots in a row, they grow hot. That means when they get possession of the ball, the basketball gets engulfed in flames as does their opponent's net. This makes shooting shots from further distances much easier. The slam dunks are much more impressive as well with your star athlete leaping up into the rafters, flipping 360 degrees, and slamming the ball through the net in an awesome display of pure... well, awesome! When the opposing team scores, however, it's bye-bye, firepower.

Lebron James tearin' it up on the court this evening.

In NBA Jam, you control one player. In other games you'd pass it to your teammate, and you'd gain control of them. Not so in NBA Jam. Instead you can call for a pass (or pass the ball to your teammate yourself) with the push of the A button. The computer AI is smart enough to know when they're in trouble, when they can make a shot, and when to charge into the fire, guns blazing. Like the good song said, everyone needs someone to shove. Or was it love? Regardless, you can opt to steal or push down your opponents to take the ball away from them. Shooting feels natural and highly intuitive. What you do is flick the Wii remote up to initiate the shot, jumping up, and then flicking the remote downward to either shoot or slam dunk. As stated, it just feels incredible, and it's something a button press can't duplicate. You also raise the Wii remote to block shots. Just be careful not to goal-tend. That buzzer gets annoying anyway.

There's a host of unlockables to attain in NBA Jam. Fan-favorite, Big Head mode, is easily unlocked by playing through the training mode which shows off the entirety of the controls from using the Z button while running to use a turbo boost to passing and shooting. There's an achievement system where attaining certain goals unlocks new players, b-ball colors, teams (such as the Dems, Republicans, and the Beastie Boys), and cheats. If you don't get bored by the tedium of playing through multiple campaigns just to unlock the final goodies, there's dozens of hours of gameplay here to hold you steady.

This is blatant disrespect for official NBA equipment right here, folks.

The visuals of NBA Jam take a unrealistic approach. The players look like cut-out characters, photographed, and then pasted into the game. There's a wide amount of animations and expressions to keep the visual front from getting stale. The court glistens with lighting from the rafters and scoreboard, and the in-game menus are about as much as you'd expect from an EA effort on Wii. Sound-wise, the musical selection is as varied as characters in a Tyler Perry movie which is to say there hardly isn't any. There's usually the same two or three tunes throughout the entire game from actual basketball contests to the in-game menus. The commentary is oftentimes outrageous with lines like "Knock-knock. Who's there? Boomshakalaka," and "Like the top drawer of my wife's dresser, all nylon." The lines are delivered with great intensity and feel like the commentator actually cared about his job which is a pleasant sight to see... rather, hear.

Four players, one winner, lots of elbow-shoving.

Overall, NBA Jam isn't the best effort at reviving a classic franchise. There's some tedium in realizing that there's no online play and local multi-player will have to do. The catch-up AI when down by twenty points or more gets frustrating as well, plus most games boil down to slam dunks, alley-oops, and little else. Nonetheless, if you're looking for a b-ball experience on the eclectic side of the court, you can't really do any better than NBA Jam 2010.

[SuperPhillip Says: 7.5/10]

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mario Sports Mix (Wii) North American Commercial

With the release date of Mario Sports Mix approaching (Feb 7th), it was about time we got a look at the new commercial for the game. All-in-all, nothing fantastic save for the ending line. I don't know why I find that funny. Stay tuned for a review of the game some time in mid-February.

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Made to Order Edition

Welcome to a new week. Last Friday, we had a taste of my favorite anime themes. This Monday, we're heading back to the nice and cozy favorite VGMs. This week, we feature themes from Donkey Kong Country Returns, Final Fantasy IX, and Nintendogs. Sit back, kick off your shoes, and let's get rolling!

v641. The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces - BGM 21

This theme has been heard previously on my VGMs, but this version is different as you can compare the two if you prefer. The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces flew under the radar of most Wii owners (get the pun?) which is too bad as the game was a solid dogfighting, air combat game. You can score it for less than thirty dollars now, so what are you waiting for?

v642. Nintendogs - Nintendogs Theme

Again, we've already heard a version of this theme. It was the live version, a relaxing jazz piece. Now it's time for the original, the theme from Nintendogs, DS style. What a wonderful arrangement this is. Very quaint and cozy. And look at that damn dog! Who's a good boy? Who's a good boy? That's right. You are. You're a good boy! D'awwwwwww.....

v643. Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles - Alexia's Lullaby

Let's segue from cute doggies to nasty flesh-eating zombies with Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles. This is Alexia's Lullaby, a chilling and haunting story about a kind king and an evil queen whom which he loved. I like the melody to this less than a minute a capella piece. Enchanting song, don't you think?

v644. Final Fantasy IX - Towards the Gate

I haven't shown a video during one of these things in a long time. It's pretty cool if I do say so myself even with the audio troubles. Towards the Gate is the dramatic final piece heard in Final Fantasy IX's main story-- not counting credits. It's triumphant, it's somber, it's heroic all at the same time.

v645. Donkey Kong Country Returns - Fear Factory Returns

Returning to the ring, the mad ape himself, Donkey Kong, and this time he has a balls-to-the-wall difficult game in Donkey Kong Country Returns. Your gaming prowess will be put to the test with this title. Fear Factory Returns brings back one of my favorite themes from the original Donkey Kong Country, and gives it new life. The real action starts around 1:10 so synchronize your watches, gentlemen (and ladies, of course).

That African beat always gets to me! That does it for another week of VGMs. They'll be back, rest assured, but until then, see you next week!