Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Special Poll Is Now Available to Vote On

 I like getting feedback on SuperPhillip Central, and that is exactly the purpose of my new poll (closing on August 1st). It asks which part of SuperPhillip Central you like the best. Whether you dig my scathing editorials, special articles like Killer Soundtracks, segments like Rank Up! and SPC Mailbag, top ten and top five lists, and screens and videos posted regarding video games I am interested in, there's something for everybody. You can select multiple items, so feel free to check all boxes if you are so inclined.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Just Dance 3 (Wii) Review

Last month, Best Buy had Just Dance 3 on the Wii for just twenty dollars. I was hesitant to pick it up at its full MSRP of $39.99, so I jumped at the chance. This review of the game is only for the Wii version. How does it hold up in comparison to games like Dance Dance Revolution and Dance Central? Let's discover that answer right now.

Just Don't

Music is one of those things that is universal. No matter what culture, no matter what language, we can all understand music and in particular, dance. Now, dance games aren't anything new. We've seen them in the past with Konami's Dance Dance Revolution and its dance pad. However, the genre was taken to absolute new heights with the advent of the Wii and Ubisoft's Just Dance series. Something of a sibling to Harmonix's Dance Central franchise, Just Dance is now on its third mainline installment. It is worth getting off the couch and moving one's hips to?

Just Dance 3 shows that you don't have to be
good to get people to buy you.
Just Dance 3 sports 40+ brand-new songs from such artists like Katy Perry, a-ha, Cee Lo Green, Gwen Stefani, KISS, The Black Eyed Peas, and many more. If you somehow exhaust your supply of fun, you can download (for a price) new tracks to an SD card via the Wii Shop Channel. Each song, whether downloaded or already on disc, has its own set of neon-lit visuals and a differently dressed avatar for you to dance with and generally unsuccessfully mimic. Some songs like KISS's I Was Made for Lovin' You has the ability for up to four players to portray different dancers in the piece. One acts as a singer, another acts as if they were wailing on a guitar, and so forth. There's something amusing about getting up with a group and dancing in sync with one another-- even if the game doesn't always follow your movements, but more on that later. Things get especially heated as you compete against one another while trying to all look like a well-choreographed machine.

Each song takes place at a different venue.
To score big in Just Dance 3 you must mirror the on screen actions of the avatar in a timely fashion. The bottom of the screen cycles through the poses you will have to perform, so you always know what is coming. Nonetheless, the symbols and figures shown there are mostly confusing with arrows pointing every which way. Enacting a dance maneuver at the same time as the dancer on screen means a Perfect rating, giving you more points. If you are just off, you get a Good rating while doing the movement a bit late will net you an OK rating. Failing to perform the right move or being off totally scores zero points. Sometimes within the various songs you will be given special warning of a Gold Move forthcoming. Do the move shown at the right time and you will receive a bounty of bonus points.

Give me an A-W-F-U-L. What does that spell?
Continuing to do well (aka scoring multiple Good and Perfect ratings in a row) turns on On Fire mode. As you are set ablaze so to speak, every correct dance move you successfully complete earns you even more points than usual. Failing a move extinguishes being On Fire.

Now all of this sounds just fine and dandy on paper. However, the actual execution of dancing with the Wii remote is less than spectacular. In fact, it quite frankly sucks. Most of the time you are just waggling in a vain effort to get the game to register your movements. Even when you think you nailed a maneuver the game will tell you you failed it or-- even worse-- not even make any mention of your movement as if you didn't even do anything when you no full and well you did. This makes the entire game pointless to someone who takes playing Just Dance 3-- or any video game for that matter-- seriously. For a casual player who just wants to see pretty pictures pass by as they dance, this probably won't be much of a problem.

 Get a perm and wear your acid wash jeans;
We're going back to the eighties!
After the conclusion of each song, you are scored by how many points you earned and how well you did (or how well the game registered your movements). You can gain up to five stars, so if you are a masochist you can try to score five stars on every song in the game plus the downloadable tracks. All stars get added to your Mojo gauge. Each time this gauge fills you get a prize in the form of choreographed dances and new modes. The more players that dance with you, the more stars you are able to earn. Dance party, anyone?

Speaking of other modes, there's such options like Medleys where you play through excerpts of various songs, Mash-Ups where you dance through a series of selected songs without pause, and Simon Says where you must perform certain actions like spinning around and shaking the Wii remote when the game prompts you to. Then there's Just Sweat that acts like a novelty at best and a bargain bin workout program at worst.

Doing the robot while being a robot.
A meta sort of thing going on.
Just Dance 3 is an immensely colorful game. The presentation is absolutely superb. It's just a shame the actual gameplay does not hold a candle to the vibrant neon colors filling the numerous dance routines. The actual animations of the faceless avatars you must mirror look exceptional, and the music in the game sounds sensational, though some of the songs aren't the original versions but covers such as Earth, Wind, and Fire's Boogie Wonderland, for instance.

Just Dance 3 is a supremely disappointing dance game. When it works, it is a joy, but considering that is only 10% of the time, that really isn't all that reliable. There is far more frustration than fun for those who want to aim for high scores. As a casual party game, however, there is a lot to be had here for get-togethers and what have you. It's a great title to pull out for parties with friends, but as a solo experience it is quite terrible. The Wii remote without MotionPlus is simply not capable of reading all the necessary movements required for Just Dance 3 to be enjoyable. As it stands in dance terms, Ubisoft's latest entry in their popular party series has two left feet and constantly steps on other dancers. Steer clear.

[SuperPhillip Says: 3.5/10]

Introducing Disqus to SuperPhillip Central!

After some urging from some of the SPC community and some deliberations, I have opted to alter the comments section significantly. We are now using Disqus, a popular commenting interface used on a lot of blogs and sites. Currently, Disqus is taking all of the 1,000+ comments previously posted on SPC and is importing them into Disqus form. This process can take up to 24 hours so please be patient with it and me. I am new to the whole Disqus scene, but I feel it will do this blog well.

Additionally, I have decided on a new banner for SuperPhillip Central. What I did was take a project I did on the 3DSWare application Colors! 3D, pasted it onto the old banner, and fixed it up to create what you see at the top of each page. Do you like it?

SuperPhillip's May 2012 Handheld Collection

Some call it bragging, others call it bragging. I call it sharing my games collection received and purchased through thousands of hours of hard labor. That is exactly what you see with my Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, and Game Boy Advance collections. In total, there are over 200 games in these five pictures. What does your collection of games look like? You can show pictures, write a quick list, or keep it to yourself.

Note: Right click and Open in new tab or new window to get a grander glimpse of each picture.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Banner Kind of Day at SuperPhillip Central

There have been two banners in modern SuperPhillip Central history. You can view them below. The question I pose is which do you consider the better of the two? I like both, so I'm no help.

My second question regards my ineptitude with art programs on the computer. I do not have Photoshop or the skills needed to create an actually incredibly brilliant banner. The two banners I frequently cycle through were made by me in MS Paint. Would anyone be so kind as to make a new one? I only require that it uses the SuperPhillip character and/or match the general color scheme of this blog. I can provide the character art if necessary. Thank you for your time and your continued reading and support of SuperPhillip Central.

Killer Soundtracks - My Personal Favorites, Part Two

Last week I posted Killer Soundtracks - My Personal Favorites, Part One. This segment was where I listed ten of my all-time favorite video game soundtracks to share with the SPC community. I'm back at it again with Part Two this week. As many longtime readers know, I adore music. It doesn't matter if it's classic rock, classical, or whatever. If it has a good melody, I'm appeased. What soundtracks do I have in store to share this go around? No sense in waiting to find out; go see for yourself.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

The Super Smash Bros. Brawl soundtrack is an unprecedented one. Nearly every Japanese bigwig video game composer stepped in to recreate a piece of music from Nintendo's huge repertoire of games. You get original tracks like Nobuo Uematsu's (Final Fantasy) Main Theme and Motoi Sakuraba's Final Destination, remarkable remixes like Donkey Kong Country's King K. Rool/Ship Deck 2, The Legend of Zelda's Title Theme, the Ending of Yoshi's Story, Pokemon's Road to Virdian City, F-Zero's Mute City, Fire Emblem's Theme, and Mario Golf/Mario Tennis, to name several. I wonder if the next Smash Bros. game will have a score that can even be half as good as Brawl's.

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time (PS2)

Even with the kooky plot twist towards the end of the game, I still enjoyed my time with Till the End of Time, the third installment of the Star Ocean franchise. While Motoi Sakuraba does not outdo his previous The Second Story soundtrack, he does deliver a grandiose offering of music fit for this excellent RPG. Such notable tracks include a guitar-heavy dungeon theme, Expiration, a cutscene-driven song, Starless Wavelets, Into a Storm Not Memorized, the forlorn Requiem for a Saint, an awesome battle theme in The Divine Spirit of Language, the theme heard in Star Ocean 3's extra dungeons, Mission to the Deep Space, and the genuinely beautiful Brilliant Future.

Star Fox Assault (GCN)

Say what you will about the quality of the game, but I was blown away by Star Fox Assault's symphonic soundtrack, full of strings, brass, and soothing sometimes, striking at other times melodies and harmonies. Such an impressive version of the Star Wolf theme, militant themes like Sauria, triumphant themes like Katina, tense tracks like Fortuna, Boss 1 and Fichina, and the excellent final boss theme, Queen Battle (Part 2). Hearing my favorite Star Fox 64 themes backed by an orchestra made for a tremendous experience for me. Star Fox Assault is truly an underrated gem only mired by a few outstanding flaws.

Mega Man X4 (PS1, SAT)

Mega Man X4 is one of my favorite games, and the music is only one reason as to why. Pressing New Game automatically sends you into the first level of the game where this theme is heard, Opening Stage X (Sky Lagoon). Then you have Maverick stages like Cyber Peacock Stage (Cyber Space), the fast-paced (in both level terms and musical terms) Jet Stingray Stage (Marine Base), Slash Beast Stage (Military Train), and Storm Owl Stage (Air Force). Then you have the last two stage themes, Final Weapon Stage 1 (Spaceport) and the foreboding Final Weapon Stage 2 (Final Weapon). Even in synth, Mega Man X4's music still gels with me quite well.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)

What can you say about this classic SNES game that hasn't already been said? In my view, it's the greatest 2D Zelda, and it's one of the best Zelda games period. From the all too familiar Overworld to Hyrule Castle, from the Dark World to the Sanctuary Dungeon, A Link to the Past has a myriad of memorable melodies and tunes to choose from. I cannot do the soundtrack justice by just choosing seven tracks, but I shall anyway. Even though you will grow weary of the Boss theme when the giant worm Moldorm knocks you off the top floor time and time again, it is an infectious beat and melody. And then you have the quaint and charming tune of Kakariko Village which would once again be heard in Ocarina of Time. Finally, there's the confounding Lost Woods theme I have to share.

Wild Arms (PS1)

An early PlayStation One RPG, Wild Arms' soundtrack was composed by the talented Michiko Naruke. The score and world are heavily influenced by the Old American West and Native American lore. It shows in songs like the opening theme, To the End of the Wilderness, Town, and Courage (Dungeon). Other tracks I adore include the touching Funeral Procession, the chilling chants of Return to Ashes, the heroic Adlehyde Castle and Morning of the Journey, and the final boss theme, Battle ZIEK. Michiko Naruke provides a professionally constructed soundtrack worthy of the Wild Arms name.

Perfect Dark (N64, XBLA)

I have said on this very blog that the composers at Rare are absolute geniuses. Perfect Dark's music only provides more needless evidence to this fact. Perfect Dark is full of *ahem* perfect tracks to spy on the sinister Datadyne corporation to. We're talking pieces like Pelagic II Exploration, Chicago Stealth, Air Base Espionage, Crash Site Confrontation, Datadyne Central Extraction, Skedar Ruins Battle Shrine, and the main theme turned rocking Ending Theme. Listening to these songs not only brings forth a massive wave of nostalgia, but it also makes me sad to see what Rare has become.

Sonic Heroes (PS2, GCN, XBX)

Sonic Heroes introduced four teams of three for its fourteen some-odd levels. There was Team Sonic, Team Dark, Team Rose, and Team Chaotix to play as. Jun Senoue and friends certainly stepped up their game to provide background music for the blistering fast levels. You get the bright and cheery Seaside Hill, the gentle rock sounds of Grand Metropolis, the bouncy Casino Park, the highly rockin' Bullet Station, and the final level in Final Fortress. You even get vocal themes like Sonic Heroes, Follow Me, and What I'm Made Of. Sonic Heroes certainly has a more colorful soundtrack than most Sonic games.

Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)

The most recent game to be inducted into my "My Personal Favorites" list, Kid Icarus: Uprising took five superb composers (Motoi Sakuraba, Yuzo Koshiro, Masafumi Takada, Noriyuki Iwadare, and Yasunori Mitsuda) and gave them free reign to do anything they wanted with the Uprising soundtrack. This created one fantastic orchestral score. I love songs like The Return of Palutena, Mitsuda's Boss Fight 1, Sakuraba's The Reaper's Line of Sight, the brass-heavy Aurum Island, the hard rock Lightning Battle (great song), the triumphant Magnus's Theme, and the epic Medusa's Final Battle. As you play through Kid Icarus: Uprising, the music transports you into the action as if you were flying alongside Pit the angel himself! A terrific soundtrack indeed. It is a must listen!

Mario Hoops 3 on 3 (DS)

Cherry picking some themes from Mario's past, Mario Hoops 3 on 3 does in fact borrow some melodies from previous Mario games, but most of the music is entirely original. It's also supremely catchy. I am referring to tracks like Mario Stadium, the surf guitar-filled Koopa Beach, the great workout tune of Sherbet Land, jazzy tracks like Luigi Mansion and Junior Street, and the beautiful bombs of Peach Field and Daisy Garden. Mario Hoops 3 on 3 is without a doubt a wonderful Nintendo DS soundtrack, possibly one of the absolute bests.


That just about wraps it up for Part Two of Killer Soundtracks. Did you enjoy the samples I provided? Which soundtracks of these ten did you love the most? Don't be shy. I read all comments, and I try to respond to the ones that resonate somehow with me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

E.X. Troopers (PS3, 3DS) Debut Trailer

E.X Troopers is a new game from Capcom based within the Lost Planet universe. If Lost Planet is the cake, the anime cover is the icing. Mm... cake. This trailer shows a lot of gameplay footage. It looks too good for the 3DS, so I assume it's PlayStation 3 footage we are seeing. But maybe the hardware of the 3DS could handle graphics this good. What do you think? Regardless, the platform decision must stem from the fact that the PS3 and 3DS are the two most successful platforms in Japan right now.

Zero Vitals: Why I Am Not in the Market For the Vita... Yet

There's no question that the PlayStation Vita is a sexy little device. However, there's also no question that this sexy little device is selling poorly all across this fine world of ours. In Japan it is selling below 10,000 each week, and in the U.S., it was outsold by Kid Icarus: Uprising in the month of April. I hate to kick a portable while it's down, but there are four main reasons why the PS Vita isn't a purchasable product for me just yet.

As stated, it is a sexy little device.

It's too expensive.

Two hundred and fifty US dollars. That is how much a PlayStation Vita costs in the grand old United States of America. Now, that is just the system by itself. You have to buy some form of proprietary memory card just to play games on the blasted thing, and of course, that doesn't even count an actual game to go with your purchase. For $250 I can buy multiple video games for platforms I already own, or (haha) buy things I actually need to survive in this world.

Now I understand that you get what you pay for. There's a ton of interesting tech inside and outside the portable. There's the front touch screen, the gyro controls, the two analog sticks, and the rear touch screen. Regardless, what was the point of throwing all of this tech inside the system? To me, it seems that Sony just crammed anything and everything into the Vita that they could which only drove up the price. In an era where games cost a lot of money and smartphones and tablets are whittling away the dedicated portable market, the Vita is a lot of money for something that doesn't even make phone calls. And the price is the least of Sony's worries.

The support isn't there-- first party or third.

To say that Sony blew their load at launch would be an understatement. Why did all of these great games release on launch day or around launch instead of being spread around? Many titles became overlooked because there were so many competing with one another. We all know that Sony's first party games do not have the same clout as Nintendo's. Heck, Nintendo almost proved that they could keep their own platform, the Wii, afloat with solely their first party games. Sony does not have that luxury. They need third parties to play ball and play nice. Third parties currently are not doing that. Western third parties have always acted like they're "above" developing for handhelds. Oh, ladida. Aren't you special? Keep making those big budget games in a market that's too unsustainable for them.

Third parties in Japan, however, have decided that since the 3DS's architecture is so similar to the PSP that they will support Nintendo's platform. (Oh, and the Nintendo DS being the best-selling platform ever might have swayed them in some tiny regard.) Capcom has already moved their blockbuster Monster Hunter franchise to the 3DS. Monster Hunter was the series that made the PSP a competitor to the DS in Japan. Now Sony doesn't even have that. Hopefully Soul Sacrifice is the start of some intriguing support for the system. Maybe Sony will have to push some money some developers' way to entice them to support the Vita. Who knows? All I know is that I will not invest money in a platform where the future support for the system is simply not there. (Though I would love to own Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational, Wipeout 2048, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, among other launch games.)

Sony seems incompetent towards the Vita's failures.

Week after week, month after month in Japan, the Vita is selling as well as sand to a thirsty person in a desert. Okay. I need to work on my analogies. That notwithstanding, the situation is bleak and Sony does not seem to be doing anything to counteract the bad vibes and press. Sales continue to slide and there are no announcements at all. A June Japanese conference is planned, but after seeing Sony's last one where the big name game was a port of a PC title (Phantasy Star Online 2), I won't hold my breath for that.

The release schedule is quite frankly depressing, and what does Sony do? They announce a white Vita for Japan for next month. Seriously? Are you trying to make current sales worse? If I was interested in buying the system, I would now wait for the release of the newest color. We all know white is better because it doesn't capture dirt and show finger junk as easily.

Most recently, Sony has announced a Brain Age-esque title called Smart As. How is this supposed to appeal to the market the Vita is supposedly targeting according to Sony themselves-- teens and young adults? It simply doesn't. A title that does aim for this audience, Soul Sacrifice, going back to that game, comes off as an honest attempt to start turning around the Vita's fortunes, but that is a Winter release. Is that too little too late?

One game alone won't give Vita vita.

I can't play my 50+ UMD-based PSP games on it.

I did not buy a load of retail PSP games so I could do away with them and purchase them all over again in digital form on the Vita. That's rubbish. This is most likely a naive fantasy, but I am sort of hoping for a revision of the system that will allow the Vita to not only have a slot for cartridge games but a slot for UMD titles. I love my 3DS because even when the system is having a dry spell I can pop in one of my many DS games, and I can find solace in the fact that the 3DS will play almost all of them. With the Vita, this is an impossibility. If I want to play a game on Vita that came from its predecessor, I have to re-buy it via PSN. Why should I do that if I already own the game in physical form for my PSP?

Japan bought tons of physical copies of PSP titles. That country alone helped the system to tread water and drown like it did in other corners of the world. I bet many PSP owners would move on up to the Vita if they could play their PSP collections on Sony's new system. I certainly know if other questionable areas of the Vita were addressed that I would do so.

So many games I want to play on the Vita, 
but they're all ones I already own.

For those who already own a Vita, can you argue against my points? And for those who don't want a Vita, what would make you want one? Let the SPC community know in the comments section.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Metroid Fusion (GBA) Retro Review

Metroid Fusion is another 3DS Ambassador game given to early buyers of the Nintendo 3DS. I have been enjoying my time playing through one of my favorite eras of gaming. See how well Metroid Fusion fares with this in-depth review.

Metroid and Handhelds Fuse Together
Once More for an Incredible Ride.

Famous bounty hunter Samus Aran skipped the Nintendo 64 generation, but she came back in style with two new Metroid games within the same day in North America: one of my favorite games of all time, Metroid Prime, and the subject of this review, Metroid Fusion on the Game Boy Advance. With Nintendo's lackluster sales of the 3DS, the price of the system went down, and people who had purchased the platform prior to the price cut received a total of twenty free games-- Ambassador titles, ten NES and ten GBA. Metroid Fusion was but one of those games to play. It's well worth one's time, too, so curl up in your morph ball and get ready to engross yourself in the world of Metroid Fusion.

New suit, same attitude.
During a routine support mission on the not-so-eloquent-to-pronounce planet SR388, Samus Aran gets more than she bargained for when she is assaulted by the mysterious but highly hazardous X parasite. This parasite has the ability to copy the genetic makeup of its host, gaining its powers and appearance. Samus nears death, but at the last possible moment a vaccine from the DNA of the baby Metroid that saved the beautiful bounty hunter back in the finale of Super Metroid allows Samus to survive. The X parasite has now spread to a nearby station that circles around SR388, and Samus, without most of her powers, must take them all out. Assisting her in this perilous mission is a computer which tells Samus mission objectives in every navigation room. Metroid Fusion is much more story-focused than previous entries in the franchise. There are tons of moments where Samus has inner monologues where she questions taking orders from a cold and calculating computer and references her past commanding officer, Adam Malkovich, a name that would appear once more in the controversial Metroid: Other M on the Wii.

There are more story elements than your average Metroid.
If you are new to the Metroid series, here's how it normally unfolds. You basically have parts of areas which you cannot explore until you acquire new powers. As you get new powers, previously unreachable areas become accessible, so new portions of the world become available for exploration. Starting off, Ms. Aran has a pithy amount of powers. She slowly gains new ones usually through beating bosses. Such powers include the ability to roll up into a ball and go through tiny spaces via the Morph Ball power, the ability to shoot off Missiles, the ability to charge her beam cannon, the ability to jump higher to reach once impossible-to-get-to platforms, the ability to freeze foes with the Ice Beam, the infamous Screw Attack which allows our heroine to spin in the air infinitely while damaging enemies that come close to her, and new suits like the Varia and Gravity Suits, giving Samus access to areas that would damage her like severely hot or cold places and the ability to move normally underwater respectively.

Like I said, generally to acquire a new power, a boss must be slain. They usually guard a power, or they even use the power themselves in battle to give you a taste of what you can look forward to. The baddies range from big to small. You'll be facing giant plants of peril, horrible scientific monstrosities gone wrong, and creatures like bats and water snakes that dish out plenty of damage. Some encounters are easier than others, and occasionally you'll have to redo a fight in order to ascertain the proper plan to defeat the foe. After a boss has been defeated, you still aren't finished. A core flies around the battlefield in hopes of hurting Samus as she tries to break it open with missiles or shots from her beam cannon. When it breaks open, the power is hers for the taking.

Beat the boss to acquire a new ability.
There are a total of six sectors on the research station not including the main area where Samus docks her ship. They are connected via a horizontal pathway and a series of six rooms with one elevator apiece, each leading to a different sector. The sectors have various themes to them such as a water and oceanic area, a lava-filled, heat-based area, a nocturnal cavern area, a tropical forested area, an icy area, and a normal area. You go from one sector to another by request of the computer, solving problems aboard the research station such as turning on the power, investigating facilities where creatures have broken free from, and flipping on switches which open up specifically colored hatches, allowing Samus to explore new areas of the vessel.

Even bounty hunters sometimes need to chill out.
Because of the mission-based structure, Fusion is more linear than your usual Metroid game, but that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of exploration to be had. There really is a lot of discovery and wonder to behold. Hidden inside walls, inside secret rooms, and usually in out of the way areas are Missile upgrades, Energy Tanks, and Power Bomb upgrades. Each Missile upgrade gives Samus five extra missiles to work with. Each Energy Tank bestows Samus with 100 extra health while Power Bomb upgrades allow Samus to hold two more super-useful Power Bombs (used in Morph Ball form to explode and destroy walls that would otherwise be impenetrable).

By far the most intense moments in Metroid Fusion are when the SA-X (Samus Aran X parasite) appears and the real Samus must flee as she is no match for her copy. The SA-X can take away Samus's life in an instant, so speed is key. Don't be surprised if you have many deaths as you figure out the best plan of escape. It just makes the experience near the end of the game of being at full power and taking out the SA-X much more fulfilling after being stalked and almost preyed upon for 90% of the game.

Sh! Don't make a sound!
Metroid Fusion isn't a long game. It can honestly be beaten in less than two hours. However, that is an impossible feat for a first-time player. (Most players will probably finish the game in 3-5 hours.) Moreover, the game counts how many upgrades you've collected, and it totals your earning percentage after the credits have rolled. Perfectionists and/or completionists will want to strive for 100%. However, there's a special end game bonus for earning 100% in less than two hours. This means being perfect throughout the game, knowing where to go, when to go, and doing it in a swift fashion. This makes the replay value relatively high as you continue to shoot for a fast time and high completion percentage. For those like me who only care about getting 100%, you probably won't return to this game after beating it once until many moons later.

Metroid Fusion is a good looking GBA game. The character and enemy designs are impressive, the still-frame cutscenes look very nice, and the backgrounds are greatly detailed. The music fills players with a sense of dread at one time, then sends them with a sense of havoc at other times. The atmospheric soundtrack is perfect for this type of title. Sound effects come across well, too, but some like the screeching and shrieking of certain bosses don't come across as nice on the small speakers of the system. Regardless, Metroid Fusion has an outstanding presentation.

Ridley just doesn't know when to quit, does he?
Metroid Fusion permeates with that typical Metroid formula. It might be more linear than most Metroid fans are used to, but there is still a fair amount of freedom to be had. Yes, the story elements bog down the pace of the game significantly, but at least the story is interesting from beginning to end. The level design constantly engages the player to try out their newest abilities to discover upgrades and other secrets, the boss battles are entertaining, and the SA-X chase segments will make a sane player sweat. My biggest gripe with the game is that it is over too soon, though some players will find satisfaction in playing the game over and over as they aim for a fast time and high completion percentage. Despite my problem with the length of the game, Metroid Fusion is still a must-have for Game Boy Advance owners. Don your Varia Suit, equip your beam cannon, and commence your mission.

[SuperPhillip Says: 9.25/10]

The Last of Us (PS3) New Trailer

Naughty Dog is well known for their big budget blockbusters and creative platformers. They've forgone the latter for more story-centric affairs like their latest, The Last of Us. Set in a world overrun with maniacs, the game promises to showcase the extraordinary abilities of the Naughty Dog development crew. Check out this trailer for the title.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (3DS) New Screens

Yesterday I posted a video of one of Square Enix's July 3DS releases, Kingdom Hearts 3D. Today I am sharing screens of the game I am most interested in for the 3DS, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. Combining RPG elements with the rhythm genre, this game is set to the compositions Final Fantasy fans have grown to love and cherish over the years. Theatrhythm rises the curtain for players in early July.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance (3DS) First English Trailer

For its upcoming newest installment of the Kingdom Hearts franchise Square Enix has released this very first English trailer (running over nine minutes long) of pure Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance (3D, har-har) footage, starting with various story scenarios followed by some gameplay. The game currently has a July 31st release date for North American territories.

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Post Mother's Day Edition

Hopefully everyone and their moms had a wonderful Mother's Day. You only get one mom, so treat her right. On this aftermath of Mother's Day we have music from numerous hot titles like Final Fantasy XIII-2, No More Heroes, and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. Sit back, unwind, and enjoy these five wonderful video game tunes.

v106. Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3, 360) - Run - Full Speed Ahead

Leaving New Bodhum as Lightning's sister, Serah, and heading to the site of a meteor, you hear this fast-paced theme. Final Fantasy XIII-2 was a drastic improvement over its predecessor, offering much more openness and decisions to be made. Run - Full Speed Ahead has it all-- guitars, strings, piano, and percussion. What more could you want as you explore the first major area of the game?

v107. No More Heroes (Wii) - Beam Katana Chronicles

Meet Travis Touchdown-- otaku, pervert, and assassin. His goal is to reach number one of the United Assassins Association rankings, slaying the most sordid foes, both men and women to achieve his desires. Masafumi Takada generally is Suda 51's (director of No More Heroes) go-to composer for his games. He's done work for Killer7 as well as Flower, Sun, and Rain and this game, No More Heroes. Beam Katana Chronicles is played during Travis' open monologue where he breaks the fourth wall to tell players to get their Wii remotes ready for battle.

v108. Golden Sun (GBA) - Venus Lighthouse

Speaking of composers who generally work with other developers, Motoi Sakuraba is Camelot Software Planning's hallmark composer. He's done music for all the Mario Golfs, Mario Tennis titles, We Love Golf!, and yes, the subject of this volume of VGM, Golden Sun. The original Golden Sun is one of my favorite handheld RPGs of all time. I loved using Psynergy outside of battle to solve devious puzzles. Venus Lighthouse is the final dungeon of the game, dishing and dealing some of the most challenging enemies to fight and the most ingenious puzzles to wrap one's brain around.

v109. Sonic Heroes (PS2, GCN, XBX) - Seaside Hill

Sonic fans are a bizarre bunch. Their fandom is absolutely strange. From drawing naked furry art of the various characters in the series to actually defending the quality of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), there is nowhere this group won't go. Regardless, Sonic Heroes brought four teams of three into the fray. While most levels played out relatively the same with some of the teams, most were completely different. While Team Dark's levels were hard, Team Rose's were on the easy side. Seaside Hill is the colorful first zone of the game. Jun Senoue provides the music for most of Sonic Heroes.

v110. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES) - Castle Fortress

Castle Fortress's name is self-explanatory. It is the name of the fourth and eighth levels of each world in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, a classic Super Nintendo title starring Yoshi and featuring the first appearance of Baby Mario and his incessant, ear-piercing whining. The song itself by Koji Kondo turns into a waltz. Whether you're inside Hookbill the Koopa's castle or Raphael the Raven's fortress, you can find solace in knowing that this theme will be there to accompany your adventure.


That just about wraps up this edition of SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs. I hope you enjoyed the immense tune-age provided to you. Next week we'll have five more pieces of music from soundtracks far and wide for your listening and viewing pleasure. In the meantime, check out the SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs Database for all your VGM needs. Take care and see you then!