Saturday, September 1, 2012

Fluidity: Spin Cycle (3DSWare) First Screens

Fluidity was one of my favorite WiiWare games when it debuted a few years back. It was a game where you used motion controls to guide a amalgamation of water through labyrinthine levels, picking up collectibles to open up new areas. Fluidity: Spin Cycle is the sequel to that game, and these first screens make it look like a competent follow-up. The 3DSWare game contains the same tilting mechanic of the original. Look for Fluidity: Spin Cycle hopefully this year.

Central City Census - September 2012

You know, sometimes when I am typing and I don't get a comment, I feel like I am talking to an empty chair in front of a huge audience. I don't know anyone who has done that recently, but it sounds immensely familiar. That's where the Central City Census comes in. I know I am getting an audience through the various votes each poll gets. I thank everyone for their participation each and every month. Let's look at August's results.

Where do you normally buy your games?

At an electronics retailer (e.g. Best Buy)
  16 (16%)
At a department store (e.g. Walmart)
  8 (8%)
At a video game retailer (e.g. GameStop)
  32 (33%)
Online (e.g. Amazon)
  36 (37%)
  4 (4%)

Votes so far: 96 

August's Central City Census asked the really tough question: where do you normally buy your games. The majority of votes were split between online retailers and video game retailers like GameStop. I honestly get my games through Best Buy, and then I occasionally order them from Amazon when I have the money. We couldn't quite hit 100 votes this month, but that doesn't bother me whatsoever. I appreciate any and all votes. Now it's time to check out September's census question.

This generation hasn't been the best for console longevity. I'm not talking about relevancy or getting support 6+ years into the generation. No, I'm referring to how long a console physically stays alive. Between the Xbox 360's Red Ring of Death and the PlayStation 3's Yellow Light of Death (gamers really need to be more creative with their names, no?), consoles were dropping like flies. Even my Nintendo Wii died, it didn't turn on anymore and needed to be repaired/replaced -- a first for a Nintendo console of mine. September's Central City Census asks how many consoles have died on you this generation. The poll closes October 1st.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Super Mario Sunshine (GCN) Retro Review

This is the final review of August, and it is the perfect game for the unofficial end of summer. It is Super Mario Sunshine. I had such great memories playing through this game, but that was a while back. My gaming tolerances have changed since then, but I remember the title being quite remarkable. After playing Super Mario Sunshine over the course of the past week, all I can think to say is "Man, nostalgia is a b*tch!" See why with this retro review.

The Plumber for Summer

With Labor Day approaching, the unofficial end to summer is closing in. Kids are back in school, the final barbeques are being completed, and the period of time of being able to wear white without some fashionistas scolding you is soon coming to an end. (Who thought of no white after Labor Day anyway?) Nonetheless, ten years ago, Super Mario Sunshine left the traditional scope of the Mushroom Kingdom and headed to uncharted territories, a tropical island full of new characters, enemies, and locales. A decade later, and are my memories of the game back in 2002 the same as my thoughts on the game now? Is Mario's vacation fun in the sun, or should he have just stuck to a "staycation?"

Every plumber deserves a vacation, and that is exactly what Mario, Peach, Mushroom Kingdom ambassador Toadsworth, and several Toads have decided to do. They land on the cozy shores of Isle Delfino only to find the island completely defaced with hazardous graffiti and "icky, paint-like goop." Little does Mario know that someone is impersonating the portly plumber, vandalizing the island, and framing him in the process. A pair of Delfino Island police officers take Mario into custody. With a swift slam of the gavel, the judge orders Mario to clean up the mess before our hero is able to leave the island. But no worries as Mario is not alone this time around. He teams up with a water-spraying backpack known as F.L.U.D.D. and with the device's help, plans to make Isle Delfino squeaky clean (because clean is better than dirty) and find out the villain behind Mario's framing. Unlike any other game in the series, Super Mario Sunshine employs complete voice acting for cutscenes. Whether you can appreciate the Saturday morning cartoon vibe displayed is a stance that I think I can say "your mileage may vary."

The FMV here is quite charming.
Super Mario Sunshine is more similar in structure to Super Mario 64 than that of Super Mario Galaxy and its same system sequel. The main goal of the game is to complete episodes within each of the Sunshine's levels to obtain Shine Sprites (of which there are the familiar number of 120 total), spirits that will turn the darkened mess of Isle Delfino back into the warm sunny atmosphere the lovely locales are used to. There are also Shine Sprites assembled around Delfino Plaza, the colorful hub of the game, as well as inside secret bonus stages. As Mario collects more and more Shine Sprites, new levels around Delfino Plaza open up for him to explore, containing eight episodes each.

The focus of Sunshine is the collection
of all of these Shine Sprite spirits.
There are ten levels that all contain a tropical island theme. There can be arguments made that there isn't that much variety in the locations Mario visits, but really, there are some discrepancies. For instance, there is a ocean-side harbor, a beach, an amusement park, a haunted hotel, a tribal village, a bay with tall cliffs to traverse, and a trek through a blistering hot volcano. The seven main levels are your traditional Super Mario 64-style affairs where you play through eight episodes, all containing their own distinct objectives. One in Ricco Harbor has you ascending a complex vertical series of platforms and walls that can be clung on to and climbed. The Shrine Sprite rests in a cage on the very top of the amalgamation of platforming peril. Meanwhile, one in Sirena Beach has you investigating a haunted hotel where there are multiple hidden passageways leading to otherwise inaccessible rooms. The Shine Sprite hides in plain sight, but it is just a matter of finding a way to get into the room housing it. Other episodes have a more general them such as having you chasing down Shadow Mario, spraying him with FLUDD until he surrenders, or collecting eight red coins spread across a certain portion of a level.

Ricco Harbor provides some early platforming
challenges for players to get their feet wet to.
Some episodes hold a mysterious gateway to a special stage that Mario must find. They take Mario within a special bonus area where at the beginning, Mario's doppelganger, Shadow Mario, steals FLUDD from him, forcing him to run and hop through a platforming obstacle course where precision jumping is absolutely key. These are some of the most challenging sections of Super Mario Sunshine as Mario doesn't have the capabilities of FLUDD to use as a crutch. There are spinning, flipping, and tilting platforms; cubes that rotate; and sand blocks that will dissolve once Mario steps foot on them. After one of these special stages has been completed, Mario can return to it for a red coin challenge, where FLUDD accompanies him. Gathering all eight red coins strewn about the stage within a strict time limit will give you a precious and well-deserved Shine Sprite.

One of several special stages full of skill-based play.
There are numerous boss battles to partake in as well with some fierce foes. One of the earliest boss battles has you spraying water in Petey Piranha's mouth as the colossal creature foolishly leaves its mouth open. Once it has taken in enough water, its stomach will protrude out and have it topple over, allowing Mario to perform a powerful ground pound. Talk about a gut check. Then there's the encounter with Glooper Blooper in Ricco Harbor. This boss requires you to jump on its tentacles when they swipe at Mario. The leaped on tentacles will become temporarily stuck to the ground, allowing Mario to grab and pull them out. Once all tentacles have been forcibly removed, Mario can run up to the squid's snout and pull like he's never been pulled before. The range of encounters in Sunshine is quite vast, making for some memorable fights (aside from the final boss fight, which is simply disappointing).

Open wide!
Sadly, a fair amount of the Shine Sprites found in Super Mario Sunshine are given out through collecting Blue Coins, 240 in all. Every ten Blue Coins can be traded in to a Tanooki in Delfino Plaza for a Shine Sprite. Some of these coins are placed in easy spots, but a lot of them are in hard-to-find locations, requiring extensive searching and trial-and-error. They just feel like blatant and unnecessary padding to make the game last longer than it needs to be.

Mario by his lonesome has a plethora of moves in his acrobatic arsenal. For a pudgy plumber, this guy can move. He can dive, covering loads of ground in seconds. He can jump between two walls to reach higher destinations. He can back flip to gain greater height. He can ground pound, and do much more.

You quickly learn that along with Pokeys and 
Cataquacks, the camera is also your enemy.
But like I said earlier, this time he's not alone (well, besides during the special stages). Mario has FLUDD around on his back. This verbal robotic device in normal mode can spray graffiti off walls and floors. It can daze certain enemies with a simple spray of water. There are also various Nozzles that can be equipped. (However, Mario can only have one special nozzle equipped at a time.) The Hover Nozzle is great for crossing large chasms that Mario otherwise wouldn't be able to jump over by his lonesome. The Rocket Nozzle allows Mario to be propelled high into the air to reach towering heights, while the Turbo Nozzle sends Mario careening at a grand speed across both land and water. However, FLUDD doesn't have an infinite amount of water it can hold. When it gets low, Mario can enter a body of water and refill FLUDD's tank. The addition of FLUDD opens up tremendous possibilities in the platforming and how the levels and the episodes are completed. Mario can perform some serious acrobatic athletics with FLUDD that would be impossible without the device.

In addition to FLUDD, Mario can occasionally come across a Yoshi egg. By feeding the egg its desired fruit, a Yoshi will hatch from its imprisonment. Mario can ride the darling dinosaur, spraying juice at foes (some obstructions can only be cleared with Yoshi's spray), and other helpful feats. Unlike other games in the series, however, Yoshi will disappear immediately if it enters a deep body of water or runs out of juice.

For the first time in 3D, Yoshi is here!
Regardless, Mario games generally feel tight and responsive in their controls. For some reason, Super Mario Sunshine doesn't fully have that sentence going for it at all times. I often felt myself not fully being in control of Mario. This is especially apparent with the abhorrent camera. It constantly gets caught behind walls and objects, and this is nowhere as obvious to see than a particular episode in the Pinna Park level. Mario has to climb up the backside of the amusement park's ferris wheel. Unfortunately the tight confines make the camera act out like me on a bender. It is also problematic when you use the Rocket Nozzle, and it the camera jerks to a view below Mario. That's good and all, but it doesn't shift back to show where Mario is about to fall, making for frustrating guesswork and trial-and-error (there's that term again). I can understand why Nintendo went with a new camera system for the Super Mario Galaxy games.

One of the worst episodes for dealing
with the game's troublesome camera.
The main drawback with Super Mario Sunshine is that there is no feeling of complete control, and that isn't a statement I thought I'd say for a Mario game. The Hover Nozzle, something that you'd think would fully feel fine isn't perfect either. Sometimes Mario's momentum in midair just stops as he hovers, particularly when close to a ceiling. It's just aggravating. And don't even get me started on controlling Mario in a boat. There just seems to be a total lack of polish. Mario sometimes controls clumsily, the camera acts just as bad, and there are glitches like Mario not grabbing onto ledges or falling through platforms. Was this game rushed or what?

Super Mario Sunshine is a bounty of color. The worlds are vibrant, lush, and full of interesting details. The game tends to run at a steady framerate, but there are indeed moments where the game appears to be pushed to its limits and everything slows down to a tremendous chug. As for the sound, the voice acting is either take it or leave it. It is quite polarizing. Some will like it, some will hate it. I don't think there is much middle ground to be had for most people. On the side of the music, the genius composers at Nintendo once again provide some very catchy melodies like Delfino Square,  Bianco Hills, Noki Bay, the a capella Super Mario Bros. theme in special stages, and the main boss theme. Overall, the presentation package of Sunshine pleases.

Make a mecha mess out of Mecha Bowser.
No Mario game has ever tested my patience as much as Super Mario Sunshine. I don't recall the game being of this lesser quality than other games in the much heralded series, but then again, it's been a long while since I've played the game since my fond times with it. From the severe lack of polish, large amount of glitches, the feeling of never being in total control of Mario (a first for me for the 25+ year-old franchise), and the atrocious camera - one of the worst I've seen from a Nintendo EAD game, Super Mario Sunshine has a lot of problems that detract from the experience. It has a lot of fun moments and awesome ideas, but for every two terrific moments, there seems to be one moment that is truly and simply awful. FLUDD is an outstanding addition to the game, and it makes Super Mario Sunshine stand out, even when the execution is imperfect. I have no qualms with stating that Super Mario Sunshine is without a doubt the worst 3D Mario game I have ever encountered. It's a shame, too, because my memories of the game when I first played it were so vivid and positive. As it is, Super Mario Sunshine is a game that will sometimes delight like a warm summer's day, while other times it is a game that is as painful to play as a sunburn.

[SuperPhillip Says: 7.0/10]

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS3, PSV) Nariko and Sir Daniel Fortesque Trailers

As promised, two new characters for Superbot's PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (I'm going to get sick of typing all that out soon) have been revealed for PAX East: Nariko and Sir Daniel Fortesque.

I'm sure Fat Princess was starting to feel lonely with being the only female entrant on the roster. No longer with the introduction of Heavenly Sword's Nariko. 

And make room for MediEvil's (don't feel bad if you don't know the series) skeletal being, Sir Daniel Fortesque. There's no bones about it - this is a nice addition to the cast of characters for this party fighter.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate (3DS) New Screens

Though the game was delayed to 2013, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate (mouthful) isn't being shy about showing itself off to the gaming public. Check out seven new screens of the game. I'm all for 2D Castlevania, so I have a fair interest in this title.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The 50 Best Nintendo DS Games - Part Three

For the past two weeks I have been listing what I perceive to be some of the greatest Nintendo DS games of the portable's robust library. We have now reached the third week and third set of ten DS titles. By the conclusion of this piece, we'll be more than halfway through this exhaustive list. If you somehow missed a previous part, check out Part One and Part Two. When all of your preparations are complete (and you remember that list contains North American releases only), feel free to begin perusing this third list of ten DS titles!

Animal Crossing: Wild World

Let me get this out of the way: I love and lost many hours to the original Animal Crossing. Well, technically the original Animal Crossing was the Japan-only Animal Forest, but I digress. Animal Crossing: Wild World has the same basic premise of that the series is known for. You start in a randomized village without a home to speak of. An entrepreneur named Tom Nook gives you a shack that you have to pay off. Bells, the currency of the series, is earned through completing tasks for neighbors, selling off furniture and other housing items, catching fish, and other means. Wild World utilizes the DS system's internal clock to give players a real-time experience. Night, day, and the seasons pass just as they do in real life. (Of course you can cheat by changing the clock yourself.) This entry brought something totally new to the franchise, too -- online play. Many hours vanished telling visitors in my town not to mess anything up. Yeah, I'm that big of a perfectionist and prude.

Elite Beat Agents

Wouldn't it be lovely if life worked the way it does in Elite Beat Agents? Say you have a very critical moment in your life. It's so difficult and vexing that it almost seems impossible to deal with. Enter the Elite Beat Agents who would dance and cheer you on until you solved your problem. Elite Beat Agents is a spiritual sequel to Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan. Both games revolve around the same type of gameplay: you touch, tap, and slide the stylus on markers in rhythm with the music. Now, you can rightfully complain about the music of Elite Beat Agents being covers and not the original versions, and you might have a case regarding the song selection. Regardless, the game is massively marvelous in its simplicity, yet deep enough to feel rewarding. Playing through Chicago's "You're the Inspiration" and not feeling the urge to cry manly (or normal) tears means you must have no soul. Perhaps there's some hyperbole thrown in there somewhere, but you get what I mean.

Clubhouse Games

Known by 42 All-Time Classics in Europe, Clubhouse Games is another entry in Nintendo's Touch Generation line of games. Of the 42 classics, all were divided up into several categories such as Card Games, Action Games, Board Games, Variety Games, and Single Player Games. If you didn't like one game, you were bound to like another. It seems with Clubhouse Games there is always one specific game that a person enjoys the most, whether it is Old Maid, Texas Hold 'em, Hearts, Checkers, Chess, Shogi, Billiards, Bowling, Darts, Solitaire, or any other activity. The single-player mode gave players stamps for completing games, but the real draw of Clubhouse Games was the multiplayer functionality. The original Japanese release did not receive online play. The North American and European releases did at launch, allowing strangers and friends (with friends you could write messages a la Pictochat or more recently Swapnote) to play many of the fun diversions worldwide.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

Featuring one of Link's greatest companions in Captain Linebeck, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass seems to be getting revisionism on just how good the game was. At the time of release, critics heralded the game's unique touch screen-exclusive control scheme. Players tapped the screen to guide Link around, slashed enemies to have Link swipe his blade at them, and other feats that felt really nice with the sole control option of touching. Now, to be fair, some critics then did complain about how Phantom Hourglass had a more casual approach than past Zelda entries. However, this game did remarkably well because of that approach, in my eyes. I greatly enjoyed the new control method, using old faithful items like the boomerang in new, interesting, and never-before-seen ways, I adored sailing the Great Sea, and I liked the structure of the game. Needing to return to the Temple of the Ocean King was an interesting idea. I can empathize with those who didn't care for the backtracking, however. Nonetheless, all this writing about The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass has put me in a wonderful mood to play the game again!

Advance Wars: Days of Ruin

A shake up for the Advance Wars series, so to speak, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin introduced a completely standalone story and cast of characters from previous entries. It was a post-apocalyptic world after a global meteor shower pelted the planet. This made for a grimmer game than what fans were used to. New to the Advance Wars series (aside from the new tone) was the ability for units to level up and increase their stats. However, it is important to note that these increased stats don't carry over through missions. Each missions starts you out with a new batch of units to work with. Perhaps most interesting in the new bullet point department was the addition of a series first - online play. Players could not only do battle with one another over Wi-Fi, but they could exchange custom-made maps. While War Room, a series staple, was omitted from Days of Ruin, I still find the game to be a competent entry in the franchise, despite its forced darker tone.

Phantasy Star 0

Borrowing elements from past Phantasy Star games such as the gameplay workings of Phantasy Star Online and the ability to play a full-fledged story in the offline mode just like Phantasy Star Universe, Phantasy Star 0 was an original Phantasy Star experience exclusive for Nintendo DS owners. (I think I said "Phantasy Star" enough times in that first sentence to fulfill my quota for the day.) The game had over 300 different weapons of varying types like swords, guns, and taking a page from Squall Leonhart, gunblades. Character customization allowed for some diverse creations, and those could be put forth into the game's entertaining online mode containing Free Play, Play With Friends, and Play Alone. There's nothing I love more than some good old fashioned monster hunting, dragon slaying, and boss bashing. Phantasy Star 0 certainly scratched that itch for me when I played the game several years back. If you have friends who love the series like I do, arranging and participating in online games is a blast.

Custom Robo Arena

I like this installment of the series because it was the first entry of Custom Robo to be released in both Europe and Australians. Now my PAL pals can see what all the frenetic fun is all about. I also like this installment of the series because it, like the GameCube game, has what I like to call the "SuperPhillip mode," meaning the game has the option to become easier the more that I suck. After repeated losses, Custom Robo Arena offers the option to handicap your opponent. So let's say I lose on multiple tries, and the game allows me to lower my foe's health by a certain percentage. You might use a tactless term like "weaksauce," but I will wear it loud and proud. The typical Custom Robo Arena match pits two customizable Custom Robo toys in an isometric arena where they duke it out with bombs, lasers, and guns to see which opponent prevails by putting the other player's health to zero. The story of the game might be on the childish side, but if you stick with what's important, the gameplay, you will be surprised at how much you like the game. (The online play certainly helps as well.)

Kirby Mass Attack

I already listed Kirby: Canvas Curse on this list of terrific Nintendo DS titles, and you can be certain that this won't be the last we see of the pink puffball enjoying his 20th anniversary this year. Regardless, like Canvas Curse, you don't actually play the game utilizing traditional controls. Nope, no face buttons, d-pad, L and R. Banish those thoughts from your mind right now. Kirby Mass Attack involves the touch screen solely. The mass in Mass Attack refers to you controlling up to ten Kirbys (you begin with just one), tapping foes, chucking Kirbys to high places or as projectiles, and other feats. Through eating fruit, your militia of Kirbys grows. When a Kirby is attacked, he grows blue. If that unit is hit again, they grow wings and start flying away. Only through tossing another Kirby up to save the gravely injured pink blob. What's awesome about Kirby Mass Attack is that not only is there the story mode to trek through and enjoy, but through gathering hidden medals, you can unlock engaging mini-games like pinball, an RPG romp, and much, much more. Kirby Mass Attack is a massively worthy game for any respecting DS owner's collection.

Pokemon Black and White

A list of the best games on a Nintendo handheld just wouldn't be a credible list without a Pokemon game (or games in this case) on it. (Though feel free to argue if this is a credible list or not, regardless.) Now, we pretty much all know how Pokemon works. You start off as an unsuspecting Pokemon trainer in a rural town. Your local professor gives you the choice of three starter Pokemon, and you begin your adventure to be the best like no one ever was. But new to this generation of Pokemon games is a seasonal cycle (with some areas only being able to be visited during a specific season), updated visuals for an extra graphical bang to the eyes, new Pokemon battle types like Triple and Rotation, and Pokemon musicals (yeah, that last one isn't that spectacular). Regardless, I find Pokemon Black and White to be some of the most complete games in the series's outstanding history. As with so many games on this week's batch of ten DS games, this duo of Pokemon games also featured online play with such things as Pokemon battling and trading.

Super Scribblenauts 

How is it best to describe Super Scribblenauts? Perhaps it's best by saying that it is the potential of the original Scribblenauts fully realized. The game is a 2D action/puzzle game that has you poking in words to summon and collect objects. This go around you can even add adjectives to create characteristics to your created objects. For example, a "red gorilla" or a "strong ox." The ability for a player to think of creative solutions to Super Scribblenaut's problems through crafting the appropriate object (and in many cases, objects) is the main goal of the game. The game is just a brilliantly thought out experience that shows that the West is just as on top of things as Japan when it comes to innovative ideas and charm, but then again, let's not do culture wars here. The level editor is much improved, too, allowing for increased functionality. I eagerly anticipate the Wii U and 3DS release of Scribblenauts Unlimited. 5th Cell has proven that they know how to craft a compelling game.


And with that we are more than halfway through this list of fifty of what I consider to be the fifty best Nintendo DS games ever developed. Next week we will approach the home stretch with Part Four of this five part series. Do you agree with most of the game selections I've picked? Let me know in the comments section.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS3, PSV) Raiden Trailer

It looks more and more like that leaked character list is right on the money through every passing roster reveal trailer. The latest is a third-party cyborg ninja from Metal Gear Rising, Raiden. Watch him hack, slash, slice, and dice his way through opponents as if they were nothing. Better think twice before engaging this seasoned fighter.

The Buzz - August 29th, 2012

It's been a few weeks since we checked at what were the most popular stories currently on SuperPhillip Central. We revisit The Buzz with this end of August edition. What stories is the SPC community digesting the most?

August 29th, 2012 Buzz results.
God of War's Rank Up! installment has taken back its crown as king of The Buzz! What follows is yet another common sight to see on the most popular posts list, the Top Five Spider-Man Games (in desperate need of an update!), then everyone's favorite 3DSWare puzzler Pushmo has its QR codes on the site. Next up is an article I'm particularly proud of, The Top 50 Nintendo DS Games - Part Two. Stay tuned for Part Three tomorrow! Following those articles are a trio of Rank Up! specials for 3D Mario, Mega Man, and Nintendo consoles respectively. My piece on PS3 games that I'd love to see trophies for was after that/ In ninth place is my in-depth New Super Mario Bros. 2 review. Capping off the Buzz fun is a summer edition of my favorite VGMs, including a theme from Nintendogs.

Five Reasons Why Capcom Leaves a Bad Taste in My Mouth

Complaints and criticism are a huge part of the game industry. We hear and read it from gamers, from the media, and from people on the outside looking in. There isn't a day that goes by where there isn't some kind of point of contention to be found.

Capcom, in many eyes, has gone from Capgod to Crapcom (pardon the crude nickname, but I didn't create it) in merely a generation's span. From bad decisions to bad games to bad consumer practices, there are a wide variety of reasons Capcom has made it easy to dislike them. This opinion piece is a brief look at five such ways my stance on the company has soured over the years. After you've read my ramblings, feel free to engage in civil discussion within the comment section below.

Seemingly turning Resident Evil into the next generic shooter despite the opinion of old fans

I hate throwing the word "generic" around like that because the word is so grossly overused nowadays. Perhaps bland would be better? Nonetheless, Resident Evil 4, as awesome as the final product was, turned the series into a more action-oriented affair. With the direction of Shinji Mikami (who later left Capcom), the game had perfect pacing between thrills, chills, puzzles, and scares. With his departure, I believe the team behind the RE series lost their way. The focus shifted to capturing a grander audience, and in doing so, this severed a lot of Resident Evil's fans from the franchise.

It's weird because I hold hype for Resident Evil 6. I look forward to trying out as Resident Evil: Revelations gave me hope, as that game had a near-perfect blend of action and finally a focus on survival-horror gameplay. Regardless, Capcom of America were more concerned with advertising Operation Raccoon City, the epitome of selling out to the Call of Duty audience (and another point of contention for former Resident Evil fans), instead of marketing Revelations -- y'know, the game that was actually on store shelves exclusively then.

Fans of the old school RE have a right to not like the direction the series is being taken. Will Resident Evil 6 return the franchise to its roots? We've heard that claim so many times now that it's getting impossible to take it seriously. It really doesn't matter to Capcom, though, as long as the series continues to sell as well as it does.

Their treatment of Mega Man

I have long since gotten over Mega Man Legend 3's cancellation. Yes, Capcom led fans desiring for a conclusion to the series on by allowing them to have input on the direction of the project. Yes, Capcom cancelled the project out of nowhere, leaving the fans with nothing but wasted time and effort. And yes, a Capcom rep tweeted that it was essentially the fans' fault for the project's cancellation. We know all that, and some of us still are bitter.

But what about Mega Man now? What used to be one of Capcom's premier franchises is now placed on iOS platforms (which isn't the problem, really) with this:

What the hell is that supposed to be? The first time I saw that screen I thought it was a fan-made Game Maker title. I mean, it just reeks of something cheaply put together. I can't say anything about the quality of the gameplay as it might as well be a perfect adaptation of Mega Man onto a smartphone or tablet. However, first impressions most certainly count, and the impression that I got was not a positive one. This game, Rockman Over (such an ironic title, no?), is a project that celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Mega Man character, and what it looks like is a Flash game made by a couple students screwing around in their high school programming class. Not exactly how fans wanted Mega Man's 25th birthday to be celebrated. Far from it.

Their Western treatment of Monster Hunter

My first and only experience with the Monster Hunter series was the Wii exclusive, Monster Hunter Tri. The game was challenging, but also very much rewarding once you finally endured a long battle with a behemoth-sized beast. I would certainly like to see the series continue in the West. In fact, Monster Hunter Tri did well all things considered. However, the way Capcom -- especially the American branch -- has been torturing fans of Monster Hunter in the West with throwaway comments, teases, and hints at future Monster Hunter news:
"Noted guys. Stay tuned."

"Soon is a relative term but I would say that Western MH fans have lots to be excited about for the future. Admittedly I do hope we can find a way to get P3 HD Westward somehow sooner than those other things but as I’ve mentioned, it’s an open item.”

"I know exactly how it feels to be lacking a new MH game for a while… patience is a virtue, right? Eventually it pays off somehow… we’ll have something veeeeery soon ;)"
It is not known whether or not the latter comment was in reference to the announcement of the iOS game, Monster Hunter: Massive Hunting, which was revealed a week after that comment. Even if not, isn't it about time we had word on if Monster Hunter 3G was coming to the West or not? Why all the obnoxious teasing and hinting? Why can't anything be said already? Either crap or get off the pot. No more of this wishy-washy nonsense, false promises, false hope, and crushed dreams of fans. And while you're at it, Capcom, how about some localization news once Monster Hunter 4 gets released in Japan?

Disc-Locked Content

I don't know if "anti-consumer" is the appropriate phrase to utilize here, but that term comes close to my thoughts on this practice. You know when Michael Pachter agrees that disc-locked content is a bad practice that something is seriously wrong. For those unfamiliar with the term "disc-locked content," it is when content is already on the disc, and a player is essentially buying and downloading a "key" to unlock it. The first reaction is "why isn't the content free if I already paid for the disc the content is on?" And that would be exactly right, in my opinion. Capcom even went out of their way to disclose their belief that downloadable content and disc-locked content are basically one in the same. This is stating that any difference between buying content that is already on the disc you own through downloading a key and buying content from an external source to download is zero. Where is the sense in that? There's a tremendous difference. Capcom has stated that they are listening to fan input on the controversy the company found itself neck deep in. We'll see if it sinks into their brains or goes in one ear and out the other.

Ultimate Marvel VS. Capcom 3

Now, this beef with Capcom is recent, but I haven't forgotten it so bear with me anyway. In February of last year I forked over sixty dollars for Marvel VS. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, a much-hyped fighter featuring a myriad of characters from both Marvel Comics and Capcom universes. I enjoyed the game and many felt it was pretty much a complete experience. Apparently Capcom disagreed because not even a year after the game came out, a new full retail release was hot off its heels, Ultimate Marvel VS. Capcom 3. The game fixed a lot of the problems with the vanilla version and added more content. Essentially, early adopters and huge fans of the original MvC 3 got shafted by Capcom. They of course didn't have to buy Ultimate, but if they wanted to go where the fighting game community went (along with many of their friends), they'd have to upgrade. Just another example of Capcom releasing the same game with a few upgrades multiple times for full price.


From Mega Man to Monster Hunter, my opinion of Capcom isn't as great as it was in generations past. There's just too much to dislike and not enough return love towards consumers from the publisher to warrant supporting them fully anymore.

Regardless, tomorrow is Thursday which means it's time for the third installment of The Top 50 Nintendo DS Games. We'll be halfway through the list of fifty by this time tomorrow, so stay tuned and catch you later!

Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS) New Trailer

Now, this is a title that I don't know what to make of yet. I'm not sold on the new changes made to the Paper Mario formula, such as forgoing experience points. Regardless, I am love with the art style as I generally love cartoony graphics. Who knows -- Nintendo could surprise me with a game that I didn't even know I wanted. Change is good after all.

Animal Crossing (3DS) New Footage

From today's Japan-only Nintendo Direct comes new footage and details from Animal Crossing's 3DS debut. The game changes things immensely (about time) as now the player is in the role of the mayor. The ability to purchase new items for one's town, create their own custom house, and whatever else is in the works certainly excites me. This is without a doubt my most anticipated 3DS game for the near future.

Harmo Knight (3DSWare) Debut Trailer

It's been a while since Game Freak created a project that wasn't Pokemon-related. In fact, it was near the end of the Game Boy Advance's life cycle with Drill Dozer. Now, they have a new IP in store for 3DS owners with Harmo Knight, a rhythmic platformer that oozes charm and looks insanely fun. Here's hoping this game reaches the West.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Top Ten Mario Enemies That Need to Make a Comeback

Fresh off the heels of my New Super Mario Bros. 2 review is a special article that will tug at Mario fans' nostalgic heartstrings. After playing several Mario games over the years, I've had a hankering for enemies of yore that haven't been in a mainline Mario game for seemingly ages. Of course, brand-new creatures are always welcome, but sometimes you just want the old tried and true. This article talks about Mario enemies from the portly plumber's past adventures that I would love to see reappear in a mainline game (i.e. a New Super Mario Bros. game or new 3D title, not a spinoff like Mario Kart, Paper Mario, etc.). It was mighty difficult pruning the amount of baddies I had, but I finally settled on ten to create this list. What old haunts from Mario's history will show up on this list?

10) Rex

If Reznor can return after a prolonged hiatus, then so can other dinosaur enemies from Super Mario World. Even though Rex has appeared in the Mario & Luigi franchise and the adorable Super Princess Peach, they have yet to return to a mainline Mario game. Rex was an enemy that when jumped on once, they would squish down to half their size, moving at a faster pace afterward. They required two hits or one spin jump to defeat them. And don't mind the wings - they're just for show. Such an enemy would make an appealing baddie to battle in either a new 2D or new 3D platformer.

9) Flurry

Oh yes. These rat bastards. Always sliding around, chasing and colliding into Mario as he slides across the slippery ice. Thankfully, Mario could catch a ride on one as if he so chose. I would imagine these careless foes that would worry more about harming Mario than their actual personal safety (they would constantly careen over the edge into bottomless pits as they made chase of Mario). They'd be perfect for antagonists in icy levels of the next New Super Mario Bros., but this time Mario would have the power of fire on his side. That would even up the odds quite nice like ice.

8) Sumo Bros.

Not to be confused with the heavy set Hammer Brother, the Sledge Bro, Sumo Bros. made their one and only appearance in Super Mario World. They would stand a top question and other forms of blocks, raise up their leg, and smash it down to the ground. When the foot makes contact, a bolt of electricity shoots down below, hitting the ground, and causing a small, contained fire. They could not be defeated through jumping on their heads, however unprotected they are. Instead, Mario would have to have Star power, throw a shell, or, more dangerously, hit a block they are standing on from below. In three-dimensions they could still stand such a block, but instead of a fire their sumo stomps could produce massive shockwaves to trip up Mario.

7) Super Koopas

It's a bird, it's a plane -- no, it's a Super Koopa! Only appearing in Super Mario World, these anything-but-heroic enemies that had different flight patterns depending on their color. Some divebombed Mario while some darted on the ground before taking off. In some cases, certain Super Koopas would wear a flashing red cape. When Mario jumped on these special Super Koopas, they'd drop a special Cape Feather power-up, giving the plumber an opportunity to don his own cape. If Nintendo ever decided for the much loved cape to return, these foes are a must. Even without the cape, you were always on your toes when a flotilla of Super Koopas came onto the scene.

6) Bully

This enemy is certainly no pushover. In Super Mario 64 the only course of action to defeat Bully and its bigger and badder versions was to push, punch, or kick them off a platform into incineration or a deep freeze. I could see Bully working quite well in a 2D Mario (I mean, it's obvious the foe works in a 3D setting) in a level where there is lots of lava or other deadly liquid, and there are a myriad of Bully enemies all around, trying to push Mario or whoever off into the abyss. A baddie that I would love to battle once more, here's hoping Bully moves out of stealing people's lunch money and back into a Mario game.

5) Mouser

Like a boss because he is a boss, Mouser's not only an explosive fellow, but he's stylish in his shades while doing so. In Super Mario Bros. 2 the goal was to pick up his thrown bombs, timing the throws just right so they blew up while Mouser was close. I can only imagine how such a battle would take place in current times. Like a lot of the cast of villains from Super Mario Bros. 2, Nintendo seems defiant in allowing Mouser another chance to shine. It's a shame as he was one of the better boss battles in memorability in the game, perhaps because he was the first, but still.

4) Shy Guy

We saw Shy Guy represent his clan as an unlockable character in Mario Kart 7. He's also appeared in numerous Mario spinoffs after his tenure in Super Mario Bros. 2 and Yoshi's Island. In the former, they walked like a turtle, but the current form of Shy Guy is a bipedal creature. Who knows what lies beneath that creepy mask? Is it a face that's even creepier than the mask that covers it? Who knows? All I do know is that I'd love to see Shy Guy cause Mario trouble in 3D form -- you know, when he's not attending one of Mario's various parties.

3) Snifit

The last time we saw a Snifit was in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! in 2010 on the Nintendo DS. They appeared in the Yoshi's Island series of platformers, but their last showing in a traditional mainline Mario game was Super Mario Advance (a mere port of Super Mario Bros. 2). I put Snifits above fan-favorite Shy Guy because Snifits have the better capability of firing shots out of the hole in their masks. Can you imagine this baby in a New Super Mario Bros. game? Forget dodging fireballs from Piranha Plants, a Snifit's shot is like Usain Bolt in comparison. Even in a 3D Mario a Snifit could be an daunting proposition, as they turn and fire on Mario as he madly runs about.

2) Chargin' Chuck

There are numerous foes from Super Mario World that I would love to see make a return in a Mario game, but Chargin' Chuck leads the charge, sprints to the end zone, and scores the touchdown. They were quite rare for a 2D Mario game in the regard that they required Mario or Luigi to jump on their head multiple times to defeat them. They also dabbled in multiple offensive strikes. Sometimes they threw baseballs (oh, the agony of the Special World's Tubular), sometimes they kicked footballs, and sometimes they split up into three and simply lived up to their namesake and charged at their intended target. There's so much that Nintendo could do with these guys, and I'm saddened to see they have been on the disabled list since Super Mario World.

1) Wart 

Proving once and for all that too many vegetables are bad for you, Wart was the final boss of Super Mario Bros. 2. To defeat him, Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, or Toad needed to pick up turnips, radishes, and other healthy treats and chuck them into the mouth of the over-sized frog until he finally croaked. Wart is unlike most characters on this list as I'd just like to see him acknowledged by Nintendo and placed in ANY Mario game, spinoffs included. Put him in the next installment of Mario Kart or add him to the Super Smash Bros. roster, and a whole new legion of fans will worship this ruler.


Putting together a list of just ten was tough! I had the idea of just doing a regular article of fifteen, but no, I couldn't be greedy. Regardless, what did you think of this list? Did your favorites show up? Did you see an enemy that you had completely forgotten about? Feel free to rattle off some of your most liked Mario baddies. Are they so bad to the bone that they are good?