Saturday, July 6, 2013

Let's Play "GameFAQs or NeoGAF?"

It's the weekend, so how about a really weird article?

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world's fastest-growing quiz show, GameFAQs or NeoGAF? Pat Sajak was tied up with Wheel of Fortune, so we're here in his place to host. The rules are quite simple. We will post a quote or series of quotes, and you guess if it is from a GameFAQs poster or a NeoGAF poster. It's trickier than you think! We'll put in the posts first and some background info, you guess which forum said what. Answers will be at the end, so keep track of what your answers! If you're ready, pick up your signaling devices and let's play!

1) In a topic about Michael Pachter giving his rhetorical question of "Why Would Anyone Buy a Wii U?", the first post was this:

"To play the 100th Mario Rehash of course!"

2) Speaking of Mr. Pachter, a poster comes to his defense:

"People are so much defensive of the Wii U and you just can't accept a single criticism about it. He speaks the truth when he says it's like the DS, I do think the console was overpriced too or should I say not value for money. He just speaks my language, really I would let him borrow my wife for one night."

3) Regarding the topic of Nintendo being behind on HD development:

Person A: He's reiterating what was said before. Why is everyone here acting like it's something new? Yeah, it's a new interview but it's not new info. Or is this "Kneejerk reaction: OT"? Regardless of how late they are we've pretty much seen all their 1st gen software and it's coming out in the next half year/year so I think this lot is the "hump" that they were getting over.

Person B: Its another chance to bash Nintendo so people will jump on it. It made them delay their games by 6-8 months and from looking what they have shown of the upcoming games it looks like they have a decent grasp of HD now.

4) In a topic about a week of Vita sales outperforming Wii U sales:

 "Vita deserves success alot more than wiiu does"

5) Concerning the recently revealed Killer Instinct game for Xbox One:

"Looks like a 7.5 to me. Discounting reviewers who will will be paid off by Microsoft, of course."

6) "When I think of Nintendo I just assume the consoles are bought by soccer moms for young children or super nerdy guys.

I don't know a single person that owns a Wii U I knew a couple that got the original Wii and they played the thing for maybe a month before the novelty wore off."

7) "Yeah. The more system you love/own, the more games you will have access to.
With just my ds lite and 3ds alone, i have access to over 90 games that I own."

8) "the new tomb raider. it's everything wrong with this generation in one package."

9) Regarding the Wii U's lineup: 

Person A: So, how are these just "incremental" updates?

Person B: Oh boy, you went there. Ok.

Person A: NintendoLand (Everywhere) - Various ideas never included in any game before
Game & Wario (Everywhere) - Various ideas never included in any game beforeMinigame collections. 

Person B:Technically new franchises, but no-one buys a console for minigames barring the miracle that was wii sports.

Person A: Sing Party (America and Europe) - Karaoke...not really much to add to this.

Person B: So by definition it is like the other games. Not sure why you even mentioned it then?

Person A: Lego City: Undercover (America and Europe) - A massive openworld made of Lego that you can build up and destroy. Uses GamePad in exclusive ways

Person B: The one game that is actually new. Still doesn't revolutionise anything with regards to open world, being fairly plain in actual gameplay. The story however is hilarious and makes it worth playing.

Person A: Pikmin 3: Implements new features such as controlling three characters at the same time.

Person B [ed.: learn to type): Because there is now ay doing hte same changes that hte second game made (+1 to characters, +2 to pikmin types) could ever be seen as incremental.

Person A: The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD - It's a remake, yet it adds loads of cool features including an online message system

Person B: Miiverse is included ion a hardware level, I still don't see why it's listed as a positive for wind waker, like people were expecting it to not be included or something? 

Person A: Wii Party U: New mini-games using various ideas never included in any game before 

Person B: Dear lord, it's essentially mario party... 15? I don't even know what we're at now. This is literally the safest any game could ever be.

Person A: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze: not too familiar with many of the mechanics here, but it's not that "roster update"-ish

Person B: So what you're saying is "I don't know anything about this game, and despite the fact it's looks, smells and sounds like a level pack, it's not a level pack".
yeah, sure, ok. Oh, I guess it has new camera angles for noninteractive parts? wowee.

Person A: Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games: New mini-games based on the winter Olympics, plays different.

Person B: Right. Plays different. I can believe that. Or I could if the first... 3? Weren't the very definition of lazy games, with half of the first "winter olympics" game having the exact same, or very similar jestures for the different games, making a bunch of them different skins for the same minigame.

Person A: Super Mario 3D World: Four player co-op. Various new power-ups that change how you play a 3D Mario...unless you could climb up the side of walls before.

Person B: By god, a mario game where you can walk on walls? INNOVATION. Oh, wait.

But hey, you're right, at least sonic lost worlds looks good.

10) Person A: Nintendo have 9 first party published titles coming out between now and the end of the year. There are also several already out somewhere in the world

Already Out:
New Super Mario Bros U (Everywhere)
NintendoLand (Everywhere)
Game & Wario (Everywhere)
Sing Party (America and Europe)
Lego City: Undercover (America and Europe)
Pokémon Rumble U (Japan)

Coming by end of 2013
New Super Luigi U (Retail)
Pikmin 3
Wonderful 101
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD
Wii Party U
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games
Super Mario 3D World
Wii Fit U
Sonic Lost World (published by Nintendo in Europe)

Other than the two Sonic games, Nintendo has either financed them, or developed them inhouse. They have even said there is more to come by 2014, too

Let's come back in a year and compare Microsoft and Sony's first party offerings in the first year of their consoles.

Person B: Good lord, that list is just brutal. I cringed irl...


1) Speaking of rehashes, that is a rehashed argument, and if you said "GameFAQs", you are right. Link.

2) This one could have went either way, but "GameFAQs" was the correct choice again.

3) This persecution complex was brought to you by NeoGAF. It's not like WE ever wrote something like that on this very site. ...Oops!

4) Which team are YOU on-- Team Vita or Team Wii U? Well, maybe you're an adult and you don't play system wars. If so, you are not this NeoGAF poster.

5) We had to throw in an easy one. This was pure GameFAQs.

6) We would really like to thank NeoGAF's Worst Posts' Twitter account for this one. If you haven't guessed, it's from NeoGAF.

7) A completely respectable post in a topic doomed for failure. No, it was not NeoGAF (there are respectable posts there indeed)-- it was GameFAQs where this post can be found.

8) Hyperbole is common on internet gaming forums, but which internet gaming forum delivered this gem? If your response was "NeoGAF", then you deserve a prize! It doesn't help that the topic was about one game that represented everything wrong with gaming.

9) Besides Person B coming off as a total dick, you may have noticed yet another list wars argument, popular on GameFAQs. You guessed incorrectly, however, if you chose GameFAQs. This was a NeoGAF post, an incredibly obnoxious exchange between two posters.

10) A person cringed in real life! That poster must be really invested emotionally in his hobby if he literally cringed over that lineup! Or maybe he/she dislikes color! That HAS to be GameFAQs, right? Those kinds of odd posts don't happen elsewhere. Wrong. It's NeoGAF. That was a tough one, as we had to verify what site we were on when we read that. We cringed in real life at how pathetic that post was. You cringe at car accidents. Not freaking game lineups... and ones that aren't too shabby either.


In all seriousness, you might be wondering what the point of this exercise was. We'll happily tell you. NeoGAF is deemed as the most mature gaming forum in the industry, yet it constantly has posts and posters who could easily be confused for GameFAQs. Many times, they are even worse because they have this feeling of superiority over everyone else-- and unjustifiably so. 

That's not even the main point of this article: to say that a good section of NeoGAF is immature. No, the point is that if NeoGAF is the best our industry has to offer in gaming discussion, is it any wonder why our hobby is still considered to be for children: either real children or people with the maturity of or act like children. We see articles like EDGE's talking about how the site is shaping the industry. Well, it's sometimes for good, but it's also sometimes for bad. Really bad.

If we want to be taken seriously as an industry, we need to cut the crap and get ourselves better than simple system wars. Many are defending faceless companies and insulting people while they do it. To say it was easy to find these posts (it took ten minutes, but loads more to organize them all into a desirable format) would be an understatement. It just depresses us as people who want our industry to not be seen as the immature redheaded stepchild it currently presents itself as to see what goes on on gaming forums like GameFAQs, Gamespot, IGN, N4G, and NeoGAF.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Toughest Tasks in Gaming History - Volume One

Fresh off the heels of Best Boss Battles in Gaming History and Great Levels in Gaming History, we have a new addition to the family. It's Toughest Tasks in Gaming History. Here, we talk about challenges in gaming that we deem as some of the most difficult to complete. If you have achieved any of these, you can walk with your head held up high and your gaming thumbs up. On the first volume of Toughest Tasks in Gaming History, we delve into games like Final Fantasy VII, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and Mega Man 10.

The Grandmaster Galaxy: The Perfect Run - Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

Super Mario Galaxy 2 compared to its predecessor turned the difficulty dial up to 11. The final challenge after collecting all 240 stars (both Power and Green Stars) is the Grandmaster Galaxy, putting players' platforming prowess to the ultimate test. There are two stars to get in the galaxy, and the first one is simple enough-- beat the level. However, it is the final star that poses the real challenge: beat the galaxy without taking damage.

The Grandmaster Galaxy is a gauntlet of platforming peril-- lasers, mines, Hammer Bros., Boomerang Bros., and so much more. This player makes it look easy, but let it be known that it is anything but!

Beating the Emerald and Ruby Weapons - Final Fantasy VII (PS1)

RPGs are known for having some of the toughest bosses in video games, and none in the Final Fantasy series come tougher than the Emerald and Ruby Weapons. Don't be mistaken-- you don't actually fight the Emerald and Ruby Weapons at the same time. Boy, would that be a challenge! No, the Emerald Weapon aimlessly prowls the underwater deep while the Ruby Weapon makes its home in the desert surrounding the Gold Saucer. Who knew that a fun heavenly paradise could be so close to hell?

It's best to have the Underwater materia equipped to one of your characters unless you like being rushed with a twenty minute time limit. (And by best we mean have the materia, as this boss has one million HP!) The Emerald Weapon's most vicious attack is Aire Tim Storm, which takes off a multiple of 1,111 HP depending on how many materia a party member has. Other attacks include beams, waves, and simply using its whole body to stomp our heroes when its eyes have been removed from the battle.

As for the Ruby Weapon, it can flat out banish members from your current party, it comes with high defense, some of the most powerful attacks in the game, and can cast status ailments with its two tentacles protruding from the sands. It will be invulnerable to damage unless a single member of Cloud's party is around, so this puts a player's party at a serious disadvantage. The hard-to-obtain Knights of the Round summon (that's a tough task for another day) is not a good idea to use as the Weapon will counter will a gnarly Ultima attack, unless it is paralyzed beforehand. We would rank Ruby Weapon as the toughest boss to tackle in Final Fantasy VII, and all of you PC players getting to experience the game (maybe for the first time, which floors us as old people) can see why so many of us gamers are angry. We were normal people before facing the Ruby Weapon!

Getting All of the Stamps - Nintendo Land (Wii U)

Nintendo Land is criticized as a casual experience (oh no, the casuals are going to take our games!), but it really is a game for everyone. By far a task that a casual gamer couldn't hope to complete would be getting all of the stamps within the twelve attractions of Nintendo Land. Most attractions have five stamps (think of them as achievements) to acquire, but some have five stamps to be earned for each mode (e.g. Pikmin Adventure has Challenge mode and Versus mode medals).

Without a doubt the most challenging of these medals come from the perfect line of medals. These mean completing an attraction flawlessly. For Captain Falcon's Twister Race it's not colliding with anything-- no walls, no bumpers, no other cars-- nothing. But the most difficult of these stamps comes from one of our favorite solo attractions, Takamaru's Ninja Castle. The highly coveted Unstoppable medal requires players to take down EVERY ninja that appears on the screen in both the normal and extra stages. That's hundreds of ninja to hit with your throwing stars without missing any ninja, and some of them just peek in for a quick look so you have to be fast.

Nintendo Land may be a game for all, but the task of acquiring every stamp is not for the feint of heart!

Getting All 180 Emblems - Sonic Adventure 2 (DC)

Sonic Adventure 2 is a fun but incredibly flawed 3D Sonic game that perhaps in retrospect we probably would rate lower playing it today. Also in retrospect, we probably wouldn't have the patience to go after the arduous task of getting all 180 medals on every mission in Sonic Adventure 2. That means reaching specific scores, getting certain times, clearing hard mode, and yes, the most painful of all, raising and racing Chao. It is a challenge that the younger us could do without much problem. Now? We'd probably toss the disc into the ocean... after snapping it in two and taking a dump on it. Sure, the reward is great-- a 3D version of Sonic the Hedgehog's first level, the Green Hill Zone, but is it worth all of the pain, all of the glitches, all of the horrid camera angles, and all of the Knuckles raps?

Mr. Perfect - Mega Man 10 (PSN, XBLA, WiiWare)

The goal of Mr. Perfect is simple to explain but tremendously tough to actually do-- complete Mega Man 10 without taking damage. The only thing that makes this achievement/trophy anything close to possible is the ability to save between levels. Still, you have to make it through a level without damage, which is easier said than done. You have to have the memory of a robot to make your way through each level unscathed. You have to read each Robot Master's movements to an exact science to avoid taking damage, because once you do get hit, you have to begin the level all over again.

We actually have a masochist on our staff that completed Mr. Perfect. Many yells were had, a lot of controllers met the floor, and plenty of cheers were exclaimed upon finishing this most epic task. Considering yourself a Mega Man Master if you have this achievement done!


Perhaps if you haven't tried some of these tasks, you'll get interested in seeing just how hard these are. If not, well, you can take our word for it! We'd love to hear from you which gaming challenges you think are the hardest and why. The comments section awaits!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wario World (GCN) Retro Review

We have a new review for this Fourth of July weekend. Game & Wario released for the Wii U just over a week ago, and to celebrate Mario's plump rival, we have a retro review of Wario's GameCube platforming romp, Wario World.

It's Wario's World-- 
We Just Play In It.

Ever since his debut on the Game Boy with Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, Wario has been a favorite among many Nintendo enthusiasts. His gross behavior, such as mining for nose treasure, passing gas, and chomping on copious amounts of garlic cloves, is just one interesting facet of this lovable lug. In 2003, Nintendo and Treasure gave Wario his own platforming game. Not content to have his own land anymore, Wario went and got himself a world to conquer with Wario World.

After taking treasure from lands near and far, Wario has just finished construction on his colossal castle, where his round rump rests on his gold throne. However, his greed has once again gotten the best of him. In his pilfering adventures he nabbed a black jewel. This black jewel awakens and begins taking Wario's treasure and turning it alive. The entire castle is transformed and Wario is booted out. With garlic on his breath and a strong will, Wario decides to teach the black jewel a lesson by heading to four themed worlds to collect the key pieces needed to open the treasure where the jewel has taken up residence.

Laugh it up while you can, Wario!
Wario World is a side-scrolling 3D platformer featuring four worlds of three levels each. The first two levels are fully explorable, complete with treasure, hint-giving Spritelings, pieces of gold statue, and red diamonds to collect. The latter is used to open the boss hatch at the end of each level. These red diamonds are located in trapdoors that must be found and ground pounded through either by Wario himself or with an enemy in hand for the steel trapdoors. The areas are either simple puzzle/platforming rooms or special platforming challenges that occur in another dimension. Unlike the main levels of the game, these special rooms and dimensions allow you to rotate the camera a full 360 degrees.

Clear out areas of enemies with
Wario's spin attack.
The garlic-chomping Wario wants nothing more than to get his greedy mitts on anything and everything golden. There are eight treasures in every level, but before they can appear, buttons marked with a "W" must be hit to spawn them. A treasure will appear on the tile the same color as the button hit. In addition to treasure, there are multiple pieces of gold. Not only do these create a stunning gold statue of Wario, impressive all to itself, but collecting them all in a given level bestows Wario with a boost to his health in the form of half of a heart.

Enemies and boxes drop coins, and these are as valuable as the treasures Wario covets so much. You see, when Wario loses hearts from damage, he can go to a garlic-dispenser to pay for a clove of the helpful garnish. This will revive one heart, as long as Wario has got the coins. If Wario loses all of his health, you can opt to pay an amount of coins to avoid a game over. Otherwise... it's game over. Wario can also lose coins by falling into a hole within a level, entering a lair of the Unithorn creatures. These purple heads will chomp at Wario, taking away his coins, as he scrambles to find the exit spring, hidden underneath one of many boxes.

Even Wario's jaw drops at all those coins!
Every level and world ends with a boss battle of some sort. These generally have Wario dodging the attacks of the boss or bosses in question and waiting for an opportunity to strike. For instance, one boss has Wario needing to run to its rear to leap onto its tail, which will then rise into the air over its backside, allowing Wario to perform a ground pound on its weak point.

This boss may be large, but
Wario's greed is larger!
In normal levels, Wario is still a much more brute force kind of plumber than his rival Mario, and he assuredly shows it in Wario World. Wario talks with his fists, able to pummel foes into a dazed state. Then he can pick up an enemy and choose to chuck them, spin them around like crazy or pile drive their face into the ground. For a plumber so... plump, Wario can get around. He can dash and jump to cross large chasms or to just make up a great distance across the fairly linear levels.

Wario gives his brute strength a spin.
As for the levels, there are but eight in the game, not including boss levels. This might seem like a low number, but if you're trying to collect everything, they can take you upwards of an hour each to complete. With no way to save during a level, I think the developer could have split up levels into more manageable bits. That way there would be more levels, there would be less getting burnt out on a particular level-- what, with being stuck in a level for almost an hour, and the player could save more often without worry of losing a good portion's worth of progress.

Another issue with Wario World is that the camera is always at a fixed position. This makes some jumps near impossible to judge, causing Wario to fall down into Unithorn's Lair, or have to redo whole sections of level all over again. The camera's abhorrent behavior shines particularly true in some boss levels, where it tries to keep up with Wario but cannot, or it can't decide if it wants to spin around or not.

Sloppy seconds? No thank you!
Wario World looks rough around the edges graphically, but Wario's animations are absolutely top notch, especially his facial reactions. Lighting is quite good in levels, particularly special effects like lightning, and most level geometry comes across as competent in looks. Enemies might be the same archetypes each and every level for the most part, but they, too, look competent and occasionally foreboding. Unfortunately, Wario World doesn't run the greatest, with severe frame-rate chugging when a lot of enemies or moving environmental objects are on the screen at the same time. For the audiophiles out there, Wario World's music is a mix of truly catchy tracks and forgettable background noise. Hearing Wario's quips like "good luck" and "have a rotten day" seldom get old, even after the hundredth time.

Wario World is far from a perfect game, and like his rival's GameCube platforming installment, it has a fair amount of issues that prevent it from being truly terrific. If you have that need for greed, Wario World is a title you can get for cheap and play through it for about 8-10 hours and then forget about it afterwards. Seeing how Wario World was developed by Treasure, the minds behind Gunstar Heroes and Ikaruga, it's disappointing to see how unspectacular Wario's GameCube debut really was.

[SPC Says: 7.0/10]

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

SuperPhillip Central's Top 100 Games of All Time (60-51)

On June 5, SuperPhillip Central turned five years old. We're celebrating big the only way we know how, with a list of our favorite 100 games of all time. SuperPhillip Central's staff has come together to come up with this list. These don't necessarily have to be the best, but they are indeed our favorites. Coming up with an order for these games has been an immense challenge. We're sure you won't agree with our order-- heck, we don't even agree with our order. That said, we hope you'll at least agree with our picks, and if you don't, at least you can read our rationale for our choices. Regardless, for ten weeks, we will be counting down our favorite games of all time. Please join us for this great undertaking.

If you missed a previous edition of our countdown, look no further than these links:

Games of All Time (100-91)
Games of All Time (90-81)
Games of All Time (80-71)
Games of All Time (70-61)

 Let's get to the countdown!

60) Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (GCN)

We kick off this week's list of ten games with Mario Kart: Double Dash!! No, we didn't add in two exclamation points for effect-- that's how the title of the game is officially written as by Nintendo. Regardless, onto the game itself-- what we consider the greatest kart racer of the PS2 era. The cooperative nature of having two racers per kart added a new dimension to the gameplay, and working in tandem to achieve the same goal-- first place-- made for some very fun and hilarious exchanges between both opponents and partners! Double Dash!! featured a great amount of new tracks, including Baby Park, Mushroom City, Bowser's Castle, Dino Dino Jungle, Wario Colosseum, and Rainbow Road, to name a handful. It's a game that still delivers to this day, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! is a local multiplayer juggernaut.

59) Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus (PS2)

Out of the four Sly Cooper games that have been released thus far, we still have our hearts pilfered by the first game in the series, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus. Emotional gibberish aside, Sly 1 introduced the world to that thieving raccoon and his accomplices, a brawny hippo and a tech-savvy turtle. It also put Sucker Punch (now working on the PS4 launch window title InFAMOUS: Second Son) into the gaming public's collective eye. We rate this Sly Cooper above the rest because of how it was structured. There wasn't much in the way of an open world setting, and each mission was an actual full-fledged level-- something we enjoyed and preferred greatly. Yes, there have been better boss battles in the series since, but no Sly Cooper game has enthralled us more than the Thievius Raccoonus.

58) ExciteBots: Trick Racing (Wii) 

Quite possibly our favorite racer of the past generation was a severely overlooked title from Monster Games called ExciteBots: Trick Racing. It was absolutely crazy, manic, wild and highly enjoyable. You see, you didn't just race to the finish in the game. No, you had to do it with some style. Performing tricks in the air, carefully driving through tree-lined paths and kicking field goals were just three of the many ways to earn stars. At the end of the race, the player with the most stars was considered the winner. In the solo mode, depending on how many stars you earned, you were awarded a letter grade. Getting the top grade meant unlocking an abundance of new tracks, content, and bots. The motion controlled driving worked great on the wide tracks ExciteBots was full of, and the level of insanity crammed into the game disc still hasn't been topped by any racer. You can nab ExciteBots: Trick Racing (at least in North America and Japan) on the very cheap, and it's an absolute steal. You'll be ready to make Super Sandwiches while you perform Super Tree Runs shortly thereafter!

57) The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (GBA)

Size matters, especially in the world of The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. While Link appeared in a title before Minish Cap, Capcom's take on the Zelda series was a wholly original one, taking Link and allowing him to shrink down to Minish people size. This ability granted him access to new locations, and made ordinary-sized objects in the real world dangerous and possibly deadly in the Minish world. The game's six dungeons were fantastically designed, showing that Capcom had not lost a step since Oracles of Ages and Oracle of Seasons (speaking of which.... later on this list...). The bright and colorful graphics looked absolutely wonderful on the Game Boy Advance's screen, and the music beautifully blended old and new, bringing remixes and totally new tracks to the table. Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors have this game on their handhelds already, so here's hoping more people get to experience The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap if the Ambassador games are made public.

56) F-Zero GX (GCN)

Do you like high velocity races? Do you like futuristic settings? Do you like anti-gravity? Do you like fiendishly difficult games? Do you like loop-de-loops, twists, turns, and swirls in your track design? Will Captain Falcon forever be your hero, and not just only for tonight? If you said "yes" to any one of these questions, then F-Zero GX is the title for you. This GameCube exclusive was the last F-Zero game to hit a home console, and it contained over 30 unique racers, 30 participant races, mind-blowing graphics, a sensational soundtrack comprised of electronic, techno and rock music, and some of the greatest racing to ever hit a Nintendo system-- nay, any video game system. F-Zero GX is a technological marvel, but it also has the heart of an exciting and ultimately really rewarding racer.

55) Donkey Kong Country (SNES)

In the Super Nintendo era, we were but young kids. We didn't know much then, but we know now how much we miss that generation of gaming, if only for the copious amounts of platformers that popped up at the time. Rare's Donkey Kong Country brought Shigeru Miyamoto's main monkey back into the spotlight, this time in heroic form and a snazzy, new, red tie. Many were wowed by the well done visuals, genius music and tech of the game, but Donkey Kong Country also had the gameplay to back the whole package up. Cartwheeling across chasms, blasting out from barrel to barrel, and beating the crud of those cursed Kremlings made for an excellent ride. The amount of secrets in the game made for a highly replay-able platforming adventure that has since stood the test of time.

54) Batman: Arkham City (PS3, 360, PC)

It is not a stretch to call Batman: Arkham City one of the best superhero games ever devised. It is not simply a great superhero game, but it is a great game in general. Arkham City introduced a more open world setting to players, which was an entertaining to glide and grapple across. The combat system made for battles that were seldom a chore and took some ingenuity and finesse to perfect for the developers (and to master for the players). The story of Arkham City was exciting from beginning to end, constantly having us play more extra minutes than we should have been just to see what happened next. Exploration of Arkham City was a joy to do, and the walled off dystopia held many side quests among its main missions, showcasing new characters seemingly at every turn. Batman: Arkham City successfully was the ultimate superhero experience, and we're excited to see where a new developer takes us with Batman: Arkham Origins.

53) The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Oracle of Seasons (GBC)

We recently revisited both of these Game Boy Color Legend of Zelda games when they released on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console. The pair of Zelda adventures both had their own overworld gimmicks (and we don't say that in a negative way) to change how Link explored each game's respective world. For Oracle of Ages, it was transporting from the present to the past and vice versa. For Oracle of Seasons, it was cycling between the four seasons to pass environmental obstructions and progress through the game. Both games contained eight unique and well designed dungeons that were so good you wouldn't know that an outside studio made them and not Nintendo themselves. After one game was beaten, a password could be inputted into the other to continue Link's quest on the other game. Through beating both, you would be introduced to the real villain behind both game worlds' problems. If you have yet to play either Oracle of Ages or Oracle of Seasons, you are truly missing out.

52) Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)

We probably have this game listed too low on this list for a lot of PlayStation fans, but that's okay. Just know that we do love Team ICO's second PlayStation 2 effort a whole lot. While at first glance Shadow of the Colossus comes off as an action-adventure game, there are no towns or dungeons to visit, and no other enemies to take down besides the colossi within the game. Each colossi boss towers over Wander, the protagonist, and this is where Shadow of the Colossus almost reaches puzzle game levels. The tact and approach to taking down each colossi, figuring out and then exploiting their weakness(es) is what you, as the player, must do. However, the game isn't perfect, which is why we have it listed at #52. The camera and controls can be a bit clumsy, which detracts from the experience. That said, the experience that Shadow of the Colossus gives players is one that most should not go without having for themselves.

51) Final Fantasy IX (PS1)

After the two Final Fantasy games that preceded it went with a more modern approach, Final Fantasy IX went back to its roots with a more classical, medieval setting, with cartoon proportioned characters. This traditional Final Fantasy approach made those of us nostalgic for the old days of the series jiggle around with glee. Final Fantasy IX's world was a marvel to behold, offering wondrous location after location, the Active Time Battle system made it so players had to act fast or get beaten down, and the cast of characters were some of the most endearing ones of the PlayStation era. Final Fantasy IX may not be the best that Squaresoft had to offer PlayStation owners, but it certainly rings true for us as one of the better mainline installments in the series.


You. Us. Same day next week. We'll have ten more titles on our list of favorites (50-41 to be exact), as we hit the second half of our monumental countdown. We hope you continue to enjoy what we have to say about each game. (If not, please pretend.)

Saints Row IV (PS3, 360) Independence Day Trailer

If you're looking for a great example of an M-rated game being anything but mature, you no doubt are familiar with the Saints Row series. The fourth installment is set to debut next month, and if this trailer is any indication, the off-the-wall carnage that fans of the franchise know so well will be returning.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Time to Call EA Out On Their Stance Regarding the Wii U

One of the nice things about being an independent game site is that we can do articles that the big boys would shudder to post on their sites. This editorial is one of those. For months now, EA executives and personnel have been making the PR rounds for interviews regarding their present situation and future releases. One system that will not be seeing any of the latter is the Wii U, something quite damning for Nintendo's desperately struggling system. However, one piece of information that EA always seem to mention regarding the system is the quality of their releases for the Wii U.

A snippet of an MCV interview with Andrew Wilson of EA Sports: 
MCV: What needs to happen before you’re back on board with Wii U?
Andrew Wilson: I build for a userbase. I made games on Facebook because I thought people were there that wanted to play them. Then it became apparent to me that either I had the wrong game or they weren’t there. We had a strong offering on Wii U at launch. The platform hasn’t had the take-up. Our games hasn’t had the take-up we’d have liked. So at this moment we are not focused there. Now they could do a range of things that might change that situation, and we’d never count them out. And should there be a sizeable gamer base there in the future, we would build games for Wii U. But for us it’s less about building for a platform, and more about building for a group of gamers on a platform where they are. And sports gamers weren’t there.
If you paid any attention to EA's initial support for the Wii U, then you might just need to sit back and nod your head to the following that we have to say on this matter. If not, then let us enlighten you.

First of all, the idea that EA as a company had anything close to a "strong offering" is such a disingenuous lie. EA literally released Madden 12 and FIFA 12 with the only change being roster updates (and some thoughtless GamePad functionality) and labeled them as Madden 13 and FIFA 13, as those versions of the game used the game engine and features of last year's entries. Did we mention these releases were launched later than the competition AND they were released at full price? Nintendo console owners are many things, but stupid is not one of them. Saying that you put ANY effort in your EA Sports lineup for the Wii U is dishonest at best and duplicitous at worst. 

Then let's talk about Mass Effect 3, a game that was the third entry in a series Nintendo console owners had never seen before. Somehow this third entry was to supposed to light the sales charts on fire, because we all know how fun it is to jump into a series on its third installment! This is compounded by the fact that weeks before Mass Effect 3's release on the Wii U EA announced the Mass Effect Trilogy for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. Both the Wii U version of Mass Effect 3 and Mass Effect Trilogy launched around the same price. If you had the choice, which would you get? The decision is easy: Mass Effect Trilogy. To say that EA essentially sabotaged the Wii U port of Mass Effect 3's sales isn't that much of a stretch. Of course, no business deliberately destroys the sales of one of their games, right? We have to chalk this down to the corporate heads there, apparently.

Finally, there's EA's best effort on the Wii U, Need for Speed: Most Wanted. This was an example of a great effort. However, it was released originally in October of last year on most platforms. At the time of the Wii U port's release the other versions of the game were available for purchase for half the Wii U version's price. Unless you really needed the GamePad for Need for Speed: Most Wanted, the decision to get a cheaper version was a no-brainer. It made us feel horrible for Criterion because they actually did do a strong offering for the Wii U game. It simply was released far too late and priced too high. 

The fact that no one in the mainstream press has the fortitude to take the almighty EA to task on their deceitful tall tales regarding their Wii U support is astonishing to us. We're not saying the Wii U deserves EA's support, as it is up to Nintendo to get some interest for their console, which they have been doing absolutely terribly (though you can bet if the PS4 and Xbox One start off sluggishly, EA will support them regardless). 

What we're saying is that EA is blatantly lying about how well their Wii U support was, and it was nothing short of a self-fulfilling prophecy (there's that term again) as to why their "strong offering" of support was not met with high sales. Early adopters are usually the most "with it" with regards to game quality and releases. The fact that EA thought early adopters of the Wii U would happily lap up the weak content the publisher offered them should say it all about what the company thinks of the system and its users. They were perfectly happy to basically con Wii U owners out of their hard-earned money with low-effort releases. Hardly what anyone would call a "strong offering." You generally get out what you put into something, and EA put hardly anything into the Wii U and deservedly got little for their "effort."

Monday, July 1, 2013

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - Born a Bit Before the Fourth of July Edition

This Thursday the United States will be celebrating its birthday with the Fourth of July. SuperPhillip Central has fireworks of its own with SPC's Favorite VGMs, a weekly segment showcasing our favorite video game themes. This week we have music from Anarchy Reigns, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Phantasy Star Online. After listening to this week's picks, come stop by our VGM Database.

v406. Anarchy Reigns (PS3, 360) - Fast Lane

Anarchy Reigns, or as it's known in PAL territories as Max Anarchy, has a soundtrack that is quite eclectic, featuring mostly electronica and rap. Fast Lane is part of the former category, and it is without a doubt our favorite song from the game. Rushden & Diamonds are the force behind Fast Lane.

v407. Pac-Man World 2 (PS2, GCN, XBX) - B-Doing Woods

Although not a very good game, Pac-Man World 2 featured a fun soundtrack with lots of happy-go-lucky tunes. B-Doing Woods has a song fitting of its many canopies-- a jungle rhythm, brass, and xylophones go hand in hand to create this marvelous and melodious piece of music.

v408. Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii) - Palm Tree Groove

Played in the levels where Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong are mere silhouettes, Palm Tree Groove starts out eerie, but it soon gets a driving jazzy rhythm to it when the piano leaps in. What is then heard is the Jungle Groove theme from the Super Nintendo's Donkey Kong Country. Throw in a lively interlude, and you have a great track from Donkey Kong Country Returns.

v409. Phantasy Star Online (DC) - You Have Nowhere to Go

There were actually two bosses in the third area of the original Phantasy Star Online. This theme, You Have Nowhere to Go, plays during the latter battle, and is a take of the first boss theme. We absolutely love the orchestral score that Phantasy Star Online comes packing with, and this tense track made our heart race when we originally faced the creature the theme accompanies.

v410. Super Ghosts 'n' Goblins (SNES) - Main Theme

A classic piece of video game music, this is the Ghost 'n' Goblins theme in Super form! The Ghost 'n' Goblins games are known for their brutal difficulty, and many controllers will be tossed down in disgust after failing that one level for the hundredth time. Here's hoping Capcom returns to this much loved series.

Not-So-Jumpin' July: Five Games to Look Out for This Month

We've officially reached the summer doldrums when it comes to video game releases. The important titles start pouring in next month, but this month we're left with just a handful of intriguing games to keep an eye out for. At least you can play through that backlog of yours if nothing here tickles your fancy. What will you be buying this month? As per usual, these dates are subject to change and they are North American dates only.

Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection (PS3)
Release Date: 7/9

A collection jam-packed with games from the much heralded Metal Gear Solid franchise, Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection is a PS3 exclusive containing the original Metal Gear Solid, the HD versions of Metal Gear Solid 2, Metal Gear Solid 3 and Peace Walker, VR Missions, and the trophy edition of Metal Gear Solid 4. It's a MGS fan's wildest dream, and it can be yours in just over a week's time. Stealth and gun your way through the Metal Gear Solid mythos all summer long and on.

NCAA Football 14 (PS3, 360)
Release Date: 7/9

With another year, comes another line of sports games. If you're like us, you couldn't give two craps about college sports. If you're not, then you probably get a kick (or is it a punt?) out of the NCAA Football franchise, and EA Tiburon has finished up work on the game for 2014. Former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson headlines as the cover athlete for the game, and thankfully he need not worry about a curse like a Madden cover athlete. Regardless, NCAA Football 14 will most likely satisfy football fans of the collegiate variety.

Dynasty Warriors 8 (PS3, 360)
Release Date: 7/16

Musou fans never get tired of hacking and slashing through wave after wave of enemies. With this era of consoles, hundreds of shogun warriors are able to appear on screen at the same time. All the more fresh meat to slice and dice. Using the engine of Dynasty Warriors 7, the sequel contains over 75 unique characters to play as, a storyline that is based off factions, and there's even non-canon missions where you can choose the direction of the story rather than going through a path already determined by the game. Dynasty Warriors 8 might be seen as more of the same, but Musou fans wouldn't have it any other way.

Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS)
Release Date: 7/16

The Shin Megami Tensei series has a cult following over here in North America, and the fourth mainline game in the series is set to hit the Nintendo 3DS mid-month. Putting players in the role of a samurai, their objective is to stop another samurai from passing out books that turn readers into monstrous demons. Shin Megami Tensei IV is the first game in the series to feature full voice acting, and comes with enough accessibility for beginners to enjoy. No worries, series veterans, as the game also offers a challenging experience for you as well.

NASCAR: The Game 2013 (PC)
Release Date: 7/24

Ladies and gentlemen... start your engines. Or at least get ready to, as NASCAR: The Game 2013 is nearing its July 24 release date. Complete with the 2013 roster of NASCAR racers, a paint tool for customizing their own race cars, and a season mode where you start out as a rookie and race your way to the top of the Sprint Cup Series Champion, there are plenty of left turns to be had in NASCAR: The Game 2013. When taking on the AI gets to be a bit too much, you can hop online against friends and total strangers. On your mark, get set, buy-- when NASCAR: The Game 2013 releases late this month.