Friday, February 4, 2011

SuperPhillip's Favorite Anime Themes - Round Two

Two weeks ago, I introduced to the world my favorite anime themes. Two weeks later, they're back to kick off your weekend just right. This week we're piloting mechas with the Big O and Brain Powerd, fighting off demons in Darker Than Black, solving crimes with Detective Conan, and going all schizo in Paranoia Agent. Enjoy!

Volume 6: Stand A Chance (The Big O)

In the original season of the Big O, when Stand A Chance played, you knew that sh*t was about to go down. The Big O would rise from its underground chamber, destroying streets, buildings, and domes-- for sport! This track is the third track on the Big O OST 1. A second season would be made thanks to the efforts of the Cartoon Network's [adult swim]. Perhaps they shouldn't have done that. Sure, the new music was excellent, but the actual story was pretty stupid. Tomatoes! Oh my god! Those damned tomatoes! I'M NOT A TOMATO! GAAAAAAAAH!!!

Volume 7: Power of the Light (Brain Powerd)

I have no idea what Brain Powerd is, and I'm guessing the first OST cover art does not tell me anything I need to know. All I do know, however, is that this is another masterpiece from the virtuoso composer, Yoko Kanno. Power of the Light is the very first track on the first OST of Brain Powerd. I love the piano here, probably played by Mrs. Kanno herself. It's a happy-go-lucky tune that never fails to put a smile on my face. Now if one of you could explain to me what the hell a Brain Powerd is. Wikapedia, here I come.

Volume 8: Main Theme (Baker Gai Version) (Detective Conan)

You might know this anime in the West as Case Closed. I remember watching this show on Adult Swim and loving it. It's particularly satisfying when you solve the murder yourself! Otherwise known as Detective Conan in Japan, but changed to its obvious resemblance to the West's Conan the Barbarian, Detective Conan involves a teen sleuth who stumbles his way into a trap. He gets drugged with a youth serum their reverts him back to his childhood. Now living with his wannabe girlfriend and her doofus detective dad, Conan's gotta solve crimes while keeping undercover as his kid form. This theme is the main theme, Baker Gai version. Enjoy.

Volume 9: Dream Island Obsessional Park (Paranoia Agent)

Paranoia Agent was definitely a mindf**k of a series. It was grim in tone, sarcastic in nature, and just disturbing as all get out. Unfortunately, the creator of the series, Satoshi Kon, passed away late in 2010 way too soon. Onto happier things, this theme, Dream Island Obsessional Park, is the introductory theme to the anime, Paranoia Agent. Lil Slugger is out at night, taking out victims with his golden bat, skating on his golden roller skates. The soundtrack itself is quite eclectic with trance, suspenseful themes and much more. It's encouraged to listen to the whole soundtrack (someone's already uploaded it), and enjoy.

Volume 10: GO Dark (Darker Than Black)

Yoko Kanno sure gets around a lot. I mean that in a musical sense. Not calling her a tramp or anything. Anyway, no idea what a Darker Than Black is, and frankly, I don't care either. All I do know is that the soundtrack is amazing as per usual when Mrs. Kanno is at the helm. GO Dark sounds a lot like the beginning of a late night TV talk show to me. Dunno why. It's the very first track on the first Darker Than Black OST. It's a straight-up jazz song perfect for fighting, similar to her work on the Cowboy Bebop series. When you mention Cowboy Bebop, you know I'm there!

For the time being, that's all the favorite anime themes (or FAT) I have to share with you folks. Until two weeks from now, we'll see you back here where Sailor Moon, Kazuma from S-cry-ed and Escaflowne will be joining us!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Rank Up! - Tony Hawk series

The Tony Hawk series has certainly seen better days. With the skateboard peripheral games not performing the best gameplay-wise and sales-wise, I think it's time we look back at the series' roots. As always, Rank Up! is where we take a famous game series, list the games from worst to best, and call it an early evening. Sounds fun, no? As always, if you disagree with my list, let me know in the comments section. That's what they are there for, isn't it? These are the games we will be ranking today-- the main console entries, excluding Shred and Ride:

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (PS1, N64, DC)
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (PS1, N64, DC)

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (PS2, GCN, XBX, PS1, N64)
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (PS2, GCN, XBX)
Tony Hawk's Underground (PS2, GCN, XBX)

Tony Hawk's Underground 2 (PS2, GCN, XBX)

Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (PS2, GCN, XBX, 360)
Tony Hawk's Project 8 (PS3, 360, PS2)
Tony Hawk's Proving Ground (PS3, 360, Wii, PS2)

When the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater came out, it revolutionized the skateboarding genre. Nowadays we take for granted the series, and for good reason-- it just isn't that good or remarkable anymore. Nonetheless, tricking out in the training area, the school, and Area 51 were just some of the wonderful locales one could thrash around in. Every year, it seemed, a new Tony Hawk game would come out and blow gamers away. It was by American Wasteland that the feeling of ennui came before players as the series took its unfortunate toll on people.

9) Tony Hawk's Project 8 (PS3, 360)

This game was Tony Hawk's attempt at realism, and again, it worked well. Instead of spanning the world across various levels, you had one big city open to you. As you completed goals, new parts of the city would open up for your skater to explore. The premise was to beat enough challenges to get on Tony Hawk's Project 8 skating team. Though the weak character creation system was a brutal flaw with this game to me. You were stuck between archetypes with little maneuverability. Regardless, those looking for a realistic skating experience can check out this title or the next game on our list, Proving Ground.

8) Tony Hawk's Proving Ground (PS3, 360, Wii)

By the time Proving Ground was released, genre fatigue had already set in. Gamers had moved on to EA's popular Skate franchise. That didn't stop Proving Ground from being a competent skating title. In fact, it was quite good. It featured new Nail the Grab and Nail the Manual special trick goals, the ability to seamlessly skate between offline and on, create personalized skate videos with customization like never before, and explore a city ripe for skating.

7) Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (PS2, GCN, XBX, 360)

The 360 version of this game was perfect for achievement whores, pending they could find all of the game's well-hidden gaps. Nonetheless, the city of Los Angeles was yours to explore with different locales from Hollywood to a junkyard where pieces of broken skate spots accumulated as you terrorized the city. Sure, tricking off pedestrians in Beverly Hills had its own allure, but when you got down to it, the real fun was following the enjoyable story, and for the first time ever, pulling off one distinct trick from one end of the city to the other.

6) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (PS2, GCN, XBX)

Instead of having two minutes to take on as many goals as you wished, Pro Skater 4 introduced something new to the series that would stick with it to this day-- the ability to carouse levels in a sandbox-fashion. You'd skate up to other skaters or pedestrians, complete their goal, and unlock new challenges and skating competitions. As you neared the end of your skating tour from college campuses to city streets, you'd take on challenges from Tony Hawk himself among other top skaters. Pull off a 900 across two sky-high halfpipes. YOU'RE THE KING, BABY!

5) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (PS1, N64, DC)

The original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is probably many a-gamer's favorite title in the series. It's the original-- a-number-one. Regardless, many future titles would surpass it. That notwithstanding, the very first Pro Skater introduced gamers to skating culture whether you were collecting S-K-A-T-E letters, finding a well-hidden secret tape, or pulling off a high score within two minutes. You had two minutes each go-round, and you'd travel from exciting levels like the original school and the mall, to name a couple.

4) Tony Hawk's Underground (PS2, GCN, XBX)

Tony Hawk's Underground was the very first THPS game to introduce a deep story, and for all intents and purposes it worked out well. The story took you as a novice skater in New Jersey with a buddy who would soon betray you multiple times throughout your journey together. The ability to hop off your board may seem like a gimmick, but it absolutely saved me some frustration of constantly hitting my board against a wall or railing, unwillingly getting bounced back the way I just came from, all for the trouble of just reaching my destination. So getting off your board was an easier way of reaching your destination, and I loved it. It made exploring cake.

3) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (PS1, N64, DC)

Introducing the combo-continuing revert was a life-saver for virtual skaters everywhere. Additional tricks were added to beef up the small amount of tricks available in the first Hawk game. The second THPS game introduced awesome new locales such as Minneapolis, the Bullring, and the School 2. The goals were pretty much the same: get two minutes, grab five doodads, collect all five S-K-A-T-E letters, create a killer combo, etc. And besides that, what other game would let you shred as Spider-man?

2) Tony Hawk's Underground 2 (PS2, GCN, XBX)

Apart from the Jackass storyline, I love this Tony Hawk game second-best because it had two modes. It had your standard story mode that was popular in this era, AND it had classic mode where you had two minutes to complete as many goals as possible before time ran out. You could also create your own goals much like with the original Underground. You could either use the pre-made levels or use your own custom skateparks. There was a lot of wild and wacky fun to be had in this title, and Bam Margera not included, it was one enjoyable experience.

1) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 (PS2, GCN, XBX)

Never before had there been such an awesome skating experience than Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, and in my opinion, never would there be again. The levels were some of the series' best from the cold, frigid temperatures of Canada to running down the terminals in the Airport level. Beating campaign mode as a character unlocked a new secret skater, and these weren't just Barney Buttsavage or what have you. These were fantasy skaters such as Darth Maul, Wolverine, and Neversoft's eyeball mascot. THPS3 is without a doubt my favorite of the Tony Hawk titles.


What about you? Surely, your list differs greatly from mine. Let everyone know your opinion in the comments section.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

More Most Wanted Games of 2011 Redux

Here are six more games that send my heart a-fluttering with anticipation. These games either weren't good enough to be on the top ten list I posted a couple of weeks ago, or I simply forgot about them. I'm only a superhero, after all. These games run the gamut of action-adventure, first-person shooter, adrenaline-racer, and JRPG. Let's get this party started!

Batman: Arkham City (PS3, 360)

The dark knight returns to take down villains both new and old. Now in an area six times the size of the original asylum, Arkham City looks to be an expansive world. While the developers, Rocksteady Games, won't call the game a sandbox experience, there's plenty of exploration and side content to discover. Rumor has it that new villains include the sinister Two-Face and even the Penguin. Who can resist beating down a bird in some serious fowl play?

Resistance 3 (PS3)

I was one of the few people who really enjoyed the second Resistance. I liked the single-player campaign, yes, but what brought me coming back was the awesome multi-player cooperative and competitive modes. Resistance 3 seems like a return to the original's form with the resurgence of the weapon wheel and health packs. A grittier, darker art style is also presented. The folks at Insomniac have proven themselves to be great developers, and if Resistance 3 is any indication, their reputation will not be tarnished.

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One (PS3)

Speaking of Insomniac, the team is pulling double-duty with both Resistance 3 and Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, a four-player cooperative game featuring Ratchet, Clank, Captain Qwark, and Dr. Nefarious. The four of you team up to solve puzzles, take down foes large and small in battle, and try not to kill one another with their eternal bickering and squabbling. It's too soon to say how the quality of Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One will translate in a cooperative setting as nearly all Ratchet games have been single-player platforming experiences.

MotorStorm: Apocalypse (PS3)

The apocalypse is already here. Who needs 2012? If you didn't get enough of the apocalypse in Darksiders, you can try it out in racing form with crumbling buildings, sweltering magma, and chaos all around. Don't forget all those other racers gunning for your life! There will no doubt be several zones of four tracks each, giving the game some varied locales to rev up on. MotorStorm: Apocalypse, the fourth game in the franchise hits shelves in Spring 2011.

PlayStation Move Heroes (PS3)

One of the only games I could see myself getting a PlayStation Move for is the star-studded, PlayStation Move Heroes, a game featuring Ratchet, Clank, Sly, Bentley, Jak, and Daxter in this platforming, puzzling, enemy-busting adventure. Both the Move controller and navigation controller are used to bring precision like never felt before. Coming this March, Move owners won't have to wait long for this new journey featuring their favorite Sony mascots to come out!

Pokemon Black and White Versions (DS)

Before the 3DS releases, there's one final hurrah for the original DS in Pokemon Black and White Versions. These games features 151 brand-new Pokemon, a new region to explore, new foes to tackle, and new gym badges to earn. Perhaps this is just what the doctor ordered to bring some revitalization to some complainers' gripes of the games being more of the same. Who knows? With updated 3D visuals and new three-on-three battles, will Pokemon Black and White entertain or disappoint?


What other games appeal to you for 2011? Does the 3DS entice you, or perhaps the PSP NGP? Let me know in our comments section!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Review Round-Up - January

He may be a douchier Indiana Jones, but he gets the job done.

This month was all about thievery. Whether it was Nathan Drake's gang of thieves to Sly Cooper wanting to steal back the Thievius Raccoonus to simply stealing the ball from someone in NBA Jam. FlingSmash and NBA Jam each earned the lowest, still-respectable scores with 7.5 each whereas both Sly Cooper and Uncharted 2 earned the highest with a 9.25 each. There were only four reviews for the new year, but February is looking even better.

FlingSmash (Wii) - 7.5
Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus (PS3) - 9.25
NBA Jam (Wii) - 7.5
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)* - 9.25


Central City Census - February

Whether you're asking your retarded readers how they pronounce February (*ahem* GameFAQs) or if you're asking something more of value, the Central City Census. Before we move on to February, let's check out January's results.

Do you have any gaming resolutions for 2011?

Yes, to clear my backlog.
6 (24%)
Yes, to not buy as many games.
4 (16%)
Yes, other.
4 (16%)
No, none at all.
11 (44%)

Votes so far: 25

It turns out most of you have no plans for resolutions of the gaming kind. Second place was to clear backlogs while their was a tie for third place between not buying as many games and other. Whatever other means. Onto new business!

The 3DS is set to launch in North America on March 27th for $249.99. Do you plan on getting one, and if so what color do you plan on getting?

Monday, January 31, 2011

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Crankin' 'Em Up Edition

Welcome to a new week. With a winter storm approaching Central City, it seems I'll be hanging out at home much more than I thought I would. Regardless, this week we have music from Star Fox Assault, F-Zero X, and MadWorld, to name a few. Enough witty banter from yours truly, crank those tunes up!

v646. Star Fox Assault - Boss 1

One of the more under-appreciated Gamecube games was Star Fox Assault which I thoroughly loved. Moreso than the game, however, I very much liked the orchestral soundtrack that went along with it. Star Fox was orchestral before Mario. Deal with it. No, I'm just playing around, but seriously, deal with it. Here's hoping the 3DS remake of Star Fox 64 plays out nicely!

v647. Mario Tennis - Set Point - Match Point

This confrontational theme is heard in Mario Tennis when it's set or match point. For you tennis illiterates, no worries. It doesn't destroy the enjoyment of listening to this theme if you can't tell the difference between a set and a match. Motoi Sakuraba of Star Ocean fame composed the soundtrack to this game, and it remains my favorite tennis title of all time. Let's whack at some balls, yo!

v648. F-Zero X - Climb Up! And Get the Last Chance! (Guitar Arrange Version)

This is not the game version of Climb Up! And Get the Last Chance. This is the F-Zero X Guitar Arrange version. It seriously kicks ass if I may be frank for a moment. The F-Zero franchise beats out WipEout easily in my book and probably the same for others. Regardless, I'm still waiting on a new F-Zero game for Wii or 3DS. Hopefully one comes sometime in the future.

v649. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game - Krang

Krang was always hard as nails, and was also always the battle before Shredder. Many coins were wasted trying to take down the creature from Dimension X. I have fond memories playing the game at the Crestwood Mall arcade with strangers. Krang's theme is simple and repetitive. Now gaze upon the real life Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

v650. MadWorld - Survival

S to the U to the R to the V to the I to the V to the A to the L. That's what it's all about in the wild and wacky world of MadWorld for Wii. Rev up your chainsaw, stick a sign pole through someone's face, and throw mad meanies into the grinder for a bloody good time. MadWorld won SuperPhillip Central's coveted Best Soundtrack of 2009 award beating out games like New Super Mario Bros. among others.

That's all for this week. Next week we'll listen to five more VGMs that are favorites of mine. You know the score by now, right? See you then!