Friday, November 15, 2013

SPC Soapbox - 11/15/13 The PS4 Launch, Wii ScrU-ed & November 22nd

It's been since July since we've last introduced the SPC Soapbox. It's time to bring it back, step on top of it, and unleash our opinions to the masses. This evening's edition features some interesting topics (well, they're interesting to us at least!). We'll talk about our apathy for the PlayStation 4's launch, our disbelief over Nintendo's (mis)handling of the Wii U, and how awesome November 22 is going to be for North Americans like us.

The PlayStation 4 launch? Meh. Are we alone here?

If you were like me, you were watching snake oil salesman and over-hyper of everything, Geoff Keighly and the Spike TV crew ticking down the hours until the PlayStation 4's much anticipated launch in North America. There was word of Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima having a big announcement. This announcement turned out to be a classic Solid Snake skin for the upcoming Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. Totally worth hyping to no end! We squealed like little girls at the announcement. Could anything top that?!

In all seriousness, we're just not feeling the hype for the PlayStation 4 just yet. We've been burned so many times by being early adopters of systems. Yes, it's cool to have new tech, and the PS4 is awesome tech, for sure, but the current games available do nothing for us. Apparently, they don't do anything for a lot of reviewers, too.

In our opinion, being an early adopter to a new system nowadays is a lot like being a beta tester. You have to deal with all of the bugs, glitches, technical problems that are associated with the launch of new hardware. You also get the pleasure of having a large drought of games to enjoy. No, we think this generation we will wait a year or two when the library of the PS4 will have already expanded and we'll have a plethora of games to choose from. Are you like us and waiting to pull the trigger on next gen?

Wii U is scrU-ed.

The Wii U only sold around 50,000 according to NeoGAF's creamsugar, who gets information from the NPD group. That was with the price drop in effect. This shows that there is total apathy for Nintendo's system that is startling and shocking. The worst part of it all is that Wii U owners aren't even buying software. Forget about third-party games, they are hardly buying Nintendo's games! What are they using their Wii U's for, if anything? Nintendo did not alter their projection of selling somewhere around 8 million or so Wii U's by the end of the fiscal year in March. At its current state, the Wii U will be lucky to sell 2 million. We were wondering if it would reach Nintendo 64 levels, but now we're wondering if the Wii U will even reach GameCube levels. It is that bad and pathetic.

The main point here? It's all Nintendo's fault. We feel like we care about the Wii U more than the company does. We assumed that Nintendo was getting ready for a second launch of the system with the new price cut and engaging games that finally made the system legitimately worth owning. However, October came and went, early November is gone, and there was nothing. This was the perfect opportunity to get the Wii U name out there, and Nintendo did not do a thing. It's as if it thinks it's poisoning itself by doing some advertising. Instead, while the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 gets huge events dedicated to them, Nintendo delivers mall events at Pottery Barn Teens.

There's STILL confusion about the Wii U is, and there's STILL millions of people who have never even heard of it-- They don't know the Wii U even exists, or worse yet-- no one cares! Nintendo's marketing efforts (and we feel dirty even using the word "effort" towards Nintendo right now) do nothing to push the system into a positive light or to extinguish the brand confusion. You would think that a company that saw brand confusion with the Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS would not make the same mistake twice. However, they absolutely nailed it.

Nintendo was so unprepared for this generation, and it is absolutely mind-boggling at the incompetence shown. In 2005 many developers were saying that HD development was difficult, but like an ostrich with its head in the sand, Nintendo did not take heed. Now we're getting excuses and "please understands" from Nintendo president Satoru Iwata regarding delays of games that should have been released already. The company should have had the foresight with all of the commentary about how hard HD development was to invest earlier. Then again, we're not businessmen, so we might be totally ignorant to Nintendo's grand scheme to have a historically horrible selling console on the market and the biggest fall in the industry between generations. If that is the case, then mission accomplished, Nintendo.

November 22nd is going to be a great day.

A week from today, at least in North America, gamers are receiving an embarrassment of riches. The most anticipated, being it's a new console, is the Xbox One. Personally, we find the Xbox One's launch lineup to be more appealing than what Sony offered. There's Forza Motorsport 5, Dead Rising 3, Ryse: Son of Rome (which may be The Bouncer of this generation for all we know), and Killer Instinct. It's a varied lineup with something for everyone. We have no interest in the system, but still.

Then there's the software side of things with the November 22 release of not one, but two possible Game of the Year candidates with the Wii U's Super Mario 3D World and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. The latter of which has already received massive acclaim from critics and others who have played the game. As for Super Mario 3D World, for the first time in a 3D Mario there will be multiplayer, and we are excited to enjoy that together with family and friends. After seeing recent footage and that video during the last Nintendo Direct, we feel ashamed for ever doubting Nintendo EAD.

Let's not forget about the PlayStation Vita, though. For some reason or another, Sony decided to release a new IP for the system in the form of Media Molecule's Tearaway on the same day as the new Xbox, a new 3D Mario, and a new 2D Zelda. Let's just say that we don't want to see the sales numbers come December.

Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai (3DSWare) Review

We'll have an edition of the SPC Soapbox later this evening. For now, coming off the heels of our Sonic: Lost World review, we have another platformer to put under the microscope. This time the game comes from Shin'en Multimedia, creators of many exciting and very good looking retail and downloadable games for Nintendo hardware. Their next offering is Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai.

I'm a rocket man...

If there is a name that is synonymous with technical proficiency with Nintendo hardware that isn't Nintendo, that name would have to be Shin'en. At the very least with every game that comes from the German developer you are sure to be blown away by how much Shin'en can get out of the system they're creating games for. We've seen this with the Game Boy Advance's Iridion, the Nintendo DS' Nanostray, the Wii's FAST Racing League, and the 3DS' Nano Assault. Now, for their new game, Shin'en has returned the world of Jett Rocket, a beautiful 3D platformer on WiiWare. This time around, however, the main character isn't just limited to 3D areas. Is Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai a game that launches into the atmosphere or simply makes a crash landing?

As is typical of a platformer, the plot of Jett Rocket II is just a means to play the game's fifteen levels. Kaiser Taikai has bot-napped Jett's robotic friends, and now our hero must venture through said levels to break each shanghaied bot from captivity.

There are three worlds in total in Jett Rocket II, and each world houses five levels. The variety of levels is rather high, with some levels being completely 2D, some 3D levels with a fixed camera angle, and fully realized 3D levels. All of these levels bring a steady challenge that presents the player with a fair and balanced difficulty curve. Checkpoints are placed at smart locations, meaning that you seldom have to do large portions of levels all over again.

So much for seeing the
indigenous life of this jungle.
To say there are plenty of obstacles and enemies to get in the way of Jett's objective to free his robotic companions is an understatement. There are turrets that fire laser balls, barrels that let loose flames, moving platforms, shifting spikes, objects that when grabbed float up in the air like helicopters, and much more.

Each level is a fun obstacle course
of fluid platforming action.
Each level is also brimming with secrets to uncover. There are approximately 25 different photos of characters, objects, and enemies within the game to collect. These are hidden throughout every level, and usually in some truly tricky spots, either requiring sublime exploration or tough jumps to collect. Nabbing all of the photos unlocks a bonus mini-game on the main menu. In addition to photos, each level records how many secrets, capsules full of Solarcells, the currency of the game, Jett uncovers as well.

Regardless, Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai can deceitfully lead players to believe the game is rather on the short side. After all, the 15 levels, 3 bosses, and side games don't take too long to complete. However, once the main game is beaten, a new unlockable mode opens up. This new Mirror Mode tasks players with entering remixed versions of the main game's levels, only this time Jett needs to collect five Golden Solarcells to unlock the captive robotic creature held up in its cage at the end of the level. This no doubt extends the replay value considerably, and it simultaneously alleviated any worries I had of consumers not getting their money's worth by picking the game. The fact of the matter is that the content in Jett Rocket II justifies the cost easily.

The bosses might look the same,
but each have their own tactics.
Jett has an arsenal of moves and technology to assist him on his adventure. For one, he can jump once and then curl up to jump again, using this move as an attack on enemies. He can also make like Mario and perform wall jumps. In certain levels there are Jettpack upgrades (Jettpack-- get it? har-har) that allow Jett to have more functionality, such as blasting off into the air with the rocket attachment, summoning platforms that move in the direction Jett is looking, and a helmet that allows Jett to swim underwater for a limited time. While Jett's move set isn't filled with a great variety, it does allow for an accessible control scheme for beginners and experts alike. Perhaps my only complaint with how Jett feels when controlling him is that his speed is just a few notches too slow for my liking. I would have preferred him to run a little bit faster.

Jett frees the robot from its
incarceration, finishing the level.
Speaking of speed, Jett Rocket II runs really well on the Nintendo 3DS, as you would expect out of Shin'en. The game is locked at a steady 60 frames per second, even with the 3D slider turned up. However, the 3D effect isn't as pronounced as other games on the system. I wanted to see more depth within the screen. As for the aesthetics, Jett himself looks a little too plastic doll-like and a bit generic as a character. Bosses sadly simply appear to be palette swaps, despite their attacking tactics and patterns being entirely unalike. Backgrounds are detailed well, and things like lighting and textures are tremendous for a 3DSWare game.

A mini-game like this
breaks up each world.
Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai is a recommended game for Nintendo 3DS owners to add to their digital collection. It has plenty of variety and challenge in its levels, well placed secrets, and impressive tech behind it. While it has its problems (e.g. slow character movement, only one save slot, occasional camera annoyances), Jett Rocket II is a must for platforming fans of all ages. Godspeed, Jett. Godspeed.

[SPC Says: 8.5/10]

Review copy provided by Shin'en Multimedia

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Top Ten Video Game System Launch Lineups

The PlayStation 4 launches officially at midnight, and the Xbox One a week after. The gaming world is in a frenzy, and perhaps as a gamer you care nothing except getting these systems as soon as possible. But wait! We have a special top ten list to share with you! With every new console or handheld comes a wide array of launch titles to enjoy. We're seeing with at least the PS4 launch that a lot of the most anticipated games are coming off as a little disappointing. That has us down, but to put us in a greater mood we've come up with a list of better console launch lineups. No, not just better-- the best! From Super Nintendo to Xbox 360, this list has the cream of the system crop. (Note that these are the North American launch lineups we will be representing on this list.)

10) PlayStation 2

Something we've noticed about the PlayStation brand-- at least the home consoles-- is that they launch with a rather underwhelming lineup. Of the three current home consoles released now, the PlayStation 2 was the one with the best launch lineup. There was really no ONE game that sat on store shelves yelling, "BUY ME AT ONCE!" but there were several titles worth checking out. Such games include TimeSplitters, SSX, Dynasty Warriors 2, Midnight Club: Street Racing, Ridge Racer V (the series is a mainstay of most PlayStation system launches), and Tekken Tag Tournament. As you can see, nothing that was a true "killer app", but enough games that made the whole lineup work.

9) Wii U

The Wii U actually had a wonderful launch lineup, especially if you hadn't played many of the ports it received from other platforms. The Wii U offered a brand-new and high quality 2D Mario with New Super Mario Bros. U, a collection of Nintendo-centric mini-games that each brought an interesting take on using the new GamePad with Nintendo Land, one of the scariest games of all time, and still one of the best uses of the GamePad with ZombiU, and you had several ports that were mostly fantastic, such as Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, Skylanders: Giants, Batman: Arkham City - Armored Edition, Darksiders II, and Mass Effect 3: Special Edition.

8) Wii

The Wii craze started off with a marvelous mix of software at its launch that featured many genres. The top titles were, of course, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Wii Sports. The latter of which was the game that made the system hard to track down, as it was sold out literally everywhere. However, let's not forget the impact of having a freaking Zelda game at a console's launch. There was something for both the core and casual consumers. Meanwhile, you had intriguing uses of the Wii Remote with games like the awesome arcade racer Excite Truck, Ubisoft's Red Steel and Rayman Raving Rabbids, Activision's Call of Duty 3, and finally, Trauma Center: Second Opinion.

7) Xbox 360

There was some disappointment with the 2005 launch of the Xbox 360. A lot of the cross-generation games didn't look that differently from their past generation counterparts. However, the titles that were built from the ground up on the Xbox 360 looked quite nice. Now, we'll get a lot of criticism for this, but we really enjoyed Perfect Dark Zero. The campaign was cheesy as all get out, but we liked the objective-based mission structure. The multiplayer was the system's best for a good while. It's still a blast to play. Then you had another Rareware title, Kameo: Elements of Power. Alongside those two games were Condemned: Criminal Origins, Call of Duty 2, Quake 4, Project Gotham Racing 3, and Amped. A diversified lineup definitely!

6) Xbox

If you ask someone about the game they liked most regarding the original Xbox launch lineup, they'll probably mention Halo: Combat Evolved. However, that wasn't the limit of the Xbox's lineup at launch. No, we saw a handful of truly terrific titles that made us reconsider our thoughts about Microsoft's first entry into the video game home console race. There was Dead or Alive 3, Project Gotham Racing, Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, the cel-shaded Cel Damage, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2X, bringing back many classic stages of the first two Tony Hawk games and even Xbox-exclusive content. If your only memories of the first Xbox are all about Halo, you must have missed out on the other notable launch titles that came out when the big, bad, black box released.

5) Super Nintendo

The Super Nintendo didn't launch with 15+ games like so many platforms do nowadays, but Nintendo's 16-bit beauty went with quality over quantity. You had the best 2D platformer in gaming history launching with the console, Super Mario World. (You're free to argue against that.) You had two Mode 7 wonders with the start of the fantastic futuristic racing franchise F-Zero and the debut of the Pilotwings series, and you had the phenomenal manic shooter Gradius III and the famous SimCity series appearing on Nintendo's systems. Not a bad launch at all, as you had five great games to choose from that still play terrifically today.

4) Nintendo GameCube

One of our most loved underrated consoles is the GameCube, and the system started out rather strong with some nice launch titles. The GameCube bucked the trend of a Nintendo system launching with a Super Mario game. Instead, Luigi took center stage with the charming Luigi's Mansion. Launch GameCube systems owners also enjoyed the technically sublime and still to this day jaw-dropping Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, the start of a great arcade franchise in Super Monkey Ball, a classic Dreamcast game put on Nintendo's system in Crazy Taxi, a wet and wild racing game in Wave Race: Blue Storm, and our favorite skateboarding game, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. It was a diverse lineup that was filled with some very unique and very entertaining games.

3) Game Boy Advance

We were so astounded as younger versions of ourselves when we had what was essentially a portable SNES in our hands. (Just imagine our reaction now that we're playing PS3-caliber portables!) The Game Boy Advance launch had a plethora of great software to play. We enjoyed a portable version of Super Mario Bros. 2 with Super Mario Advance, sped through futuristic tracks in F-Zero: Maximum Velocity, laid the smack down on sorry souls with Fire Pro Wrestling, raced with several classic Konami characters in Konami Krazy Racers, shredded things up with a visually impressive take on the Tony Hawk series with the isometric Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, went all Metroidvania with Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, and had memories of middle school with Super Dodge Ball Advance. The Game Boy Advance launch lineup was the gift that kept on giving as we dove deeper into what the system initially had to offer.

2) PlayStation Vita

Evidence that having a stellar launch lineup means very little (read: squat) in the long run, Sony's PlayStation Vita had an incredible arsenal of games available on launch day. You had a portable entry in the Uncharted series that played and looked almost as well as its bigger brothers, you had the technical showcase and fast, frenetic fun of Wipeout 2048, you had a new entry in the excellent Hot Shots Golf series, you had a tremendous port of one of the greatest platformers of the seventh generation, Rayman Origins, and you had many other games like Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus, Ultimate Marvel VS. Capcom 3, Dynasty Warriors Next, and Lumines Electronic Symphony. The PlayStation Vita had plenty of lovely software at launch. It's a real shame how much it is struggling.

1) SEGA Dreamcast

After struggling mightily with the Saturn, SEGA went all out with their 9/9/99 launch of their final home console, the Dreamcast. The sheer number of excellent games available at launch signaled to plenty of people knew that SEGA meant business. The first console of the sixth generation, the Dreamcast impressed with its power, its speed, its technical proficiency with games like Sonic Adventure, Soulcalibur, and delighted with fun games like The House of the Dead 2, Hydro Thunder, Power Stone, and Ready to Rumble Boxing. The Dreamcast may have had a sad and premature death, but its launch is still one of the best.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Unpopular Opinion 2: Games We Liked That Many Did Not

The staff at SuperPhillip Central loves games. We live them, we breathe them, we bathe with them, etc. However, we sometimes go outside the norm with our reviews, bashing titles that many others enjoyed, and heralding other games that have received poor scores or negative feedback within the gaming community. This article focuses on the latter type of games. As the title suggests, this is our second go at representing the games that a sizable chunk of gamers and critics lambasted yet we still enjoy. To check out the first article, click this link. After you're done reading our choices, why not list some of your own?

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS)

Technically, both Nintendo DS Legend of Zelda games could be placed here, but we're choosing Phantom Hourglass. There were many issues players had with the game. The two biggest problems were the touch screen-based controls and the Temple of the Ocean King. The first we found rather enjoyable. It was a great change of pace and intuitive as well. Meanwhile, the Temple of the Ocean King had players returning to it multiple times, heading deeper and deeper into its depths upon each visit. No doubt maddening to many, but for us perhaps we can tolerate annoying gameplay better than some. For heaven's sake, one of us got all of the achievements on the Xbox 360 version of 2006's Sonic the Hedgehog!

Sonic: Lost World (Wii U)

That seems like a perfect segue into our next game. At first, we were playing through Sonic: Lost World, not knowing really what we were doing. Getting used to the new controls (i.e. using the triggers to run and spin dash) was a challenge. However, once we got through that, the only worry that we had to deal with was some questionable design choices. Exhibit A: A level that forces you to play a round of pinball. The table's physics are awful, and if you fall through the flippers, you lose a life. When we finally figured out some of Lost World's more obtuse design decisions, the game became much more fun in subsequent play-throughs. We definitely don't agree that Sonic: Lost World is anywhere near the lack of quality of Sonic and the Secret Rings. In fact, we'd put it as a higher-tier 3D Sonic game.

The Wonderful 101 (Wii U)

We understand that the mainstream media does not have a lot of time to play every game on the planet fully, but with The Wonderful 101 it seemed like many journalists did not properly take the time to learn the controls (and they do take a little time to learn) before shooting down Platinum Games' latest. The concepts of having 100 wonderful heroes to move about and each mission being crazier than the last made for a game that we had trouble putting down. The Wonderful 101 is a nowhere near a perfect game, but it's also nowhere near unplayable or broken either.

007: Quantum of Solace (PS3, 360, Wii)

Movie-based games are generally garbage, but we liked what Activision did with 007: Quantum of Solace. The game combined missions of the 21st and 22nd James Bond movies into one nice and neat package. It might just be the source material that makes us enjoy this game, or it might just be our lack of playing every shooter under the sun. Regardless, we spent a lot of time playing through the fun campaign, and then hopping online to mow down some randoms from around the world. 007: Quantum of Solace had a license to thrill.

The Amazing Spider-Man (Wii U, PS3, 360)

Another movie tie-in game, The Amazing Spider-Man released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 two summers ago. This past March it released on Nintendo's Wii U for whatever rationale Activision had. Nonetheless, we found ourselves enjoying the game, regardless of how fashionably late it was. The open world setting of New York returned, and while the mission variety was limited in its locale choices, Spider-Man controlled splendidly. Sure, the web-swinging didn't have the same amount of technicality in it as Spider-Man 2, but The Amazing Spider-Man entertained us despite that.

Mario Tennis Open (3DS)

There are plenty of people disappointed with the latest in the Mario Tennis series. Mario Tennis Open gave players more of a match of Simon Says than actual tennis. You see, different shots put colorful circles on the opposing player's court. When the player moved to that position, the colored circle denoted what kind of shot the player should hit for maximum efficiency. This didn't sit too well with a lot of players, but we at SuperPhillip Central managed to get over 25 hours of playtime with Mario Tennis Open regardless. We enjoyed the courts, the four mini-games (though we wished there were more), and dressing up our Miis in unlockable gear.

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity (3DS)

To be fair, we don't do many roguelikes, so we're not the best to pass judgment on them. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity is seen as a beginner's entry into the genre, and it shows. The challenge is rather light, after all. That said, there are plenty of positives to take from Gates to Infinity. For instance, the story is interesting, having Pokemon join your team shifts completionists into overdrive, and the gameplay is accessible to almost anybody. Issues like the game's difficulty, lack of much variety in dungeon design, and talkative Pokemon didn't really phase us, but they are important to note (which we did in our review).

White Knight Chronicles: International Edition (PS3)

A modern story of "Sorry, but your princess is in another castle", White Knight Chronicles: International Edition is an RPG that plays well enough. Some say the combat isn't deep enough to keep players interested for long, and yes, there is a lot of grinding for experience and levels to accomplish. However, playing both the offline campaign and going online with your custom character for some online quests is something that we enjoyed. Maybe our enjoyment came from the fact that at the time we were dying for something new to play on our PlayStation 3's that was a JRPG. Regardless of the reason, we enjoyed White Knight Chronicles when we took it a face value.

ZombiU (Wii U)

Some critics jumped into ZombiU thinking it was just some first-person shooter. They received severe disappointment due to their assumptions and then tore the game to pieces like a pack of zombies. No, ZombiU is pure survival-horror with a heavy emphasis on the survival part. It is such a rush having a feeling of true sense of fear as you run from the undead, never knowing if where you're going will lead you to your death. The usage of the Wii U GamePad is still some of the best that the console has seen. Few games have ever made us legitimately afraid, but ZombiU is one of those rare titles that absolutely did. ...Wait. Did you hear that? It sounded like it came from behind you...

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS) Launch Trailer

A week from Friday is an embarrassment of riches for Nintendo fans. There are two top-tier titles coming out, Super Mario 3D World and this one, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. This launch trailer shows some more adventure in this handheld epic.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gone But Not Forgotten: Game Cancellations That Still Sting

Oh, we're sure you know the feeling. That feeling of the world being pulled out from under you... That feeling of your heart ripped right out of your chest... It's a miserable feeling. Yes, we're talking about being extremely hyped for an announced game only to have it shelved forever. As gamers for over twenty years, we've experienced more heartache and subsequent depression over game cancellations than we care to admit. Okay, perhaps we're being a little melodramatic here... Okay. Maybe a LOT melodramatic, but the point still stands. The following is a group of games that we just think about what could have been... After you've read our picks, feel free to share your own in our comments section below.

Mega Man Legends 3 (3DS)

Capcom... you rat bastards. The company set up a website where fans could vote on a myriad of game-related options, such as character design choices for Mega Man Volnutt and new character Aero. However, Keiji Inafune, heralded as Mega Man's creator, left Capcom in 2010. The game's development team made it clear that the game would continue to be worked on. A prototype version of the game for the Nintendo 3DS's eShop was supposed to be released, showcasing the gameplay through ten missions. Eventually Capcom cancelled the entire project, disappointing fans, the development team, and Keiji Inafune in the process. While Capcom won't give fans their desired dose of Mega Man, Keiji Infaune's Mighty No. 9 looks to step in and give fans what they want if Capcom won't.

Mega Man Universe (PSN, XBLA, WiiWare)

Not pleased enough with kicking Mega Man and his fans to the curb once, Capcom decided to cancel another of the Blue Bomber's projects, Mega Man Universe. Covered in 2.5D aesthetics, Mega Man Universe would have given several nods to Mega Man 2. The most exciting part of the game was the ability to create and share custom levels, similar to what was seen in Mega Man: Powered Up on the PSP. After Keiji Inafune's departure from Capcom, there was total silence from the team behind Mega Man Universe. Eventually, Capcom revealed the game had been killed, like poor Mega Man on a spike trap. The reason for the game's cancellation? "Various circumstances." Well, we, along with many Mega Man fans, were all various types of angry.

Donkey Kong Racing (GCN)

We have listed twice that our favorite kart racing game of all time is Diddy Kong Racing, so the cancellation of a sequel to that game still bums us out. Some footage was shown of the project at Nintendo's SpaceWorld 2001 event. It featured Donkey and Diddy Kong, along with Taj the Genie (who debuted in Diddy Kong Racing) speeding through various settings aboard familiar Donkey Kong Country animal friends and foes, such as Rambi, Espresso, Zinger, and Necky. Due to Nintendo selling off their shares of Rare to Microsoft, Rare turned their attention to making games for the Xbox. This left Donkey Kong Racing in a state of limbo. It's been over a decade now, and we think it's finally safe to say that the game has been cancelled, much to our chagrin.

EarthBound 64 (N64)

A project that was mired with problems, EarthBound 64 was initially going to be a game on the Super Famicom. (Obviously not under that game name.) Development then shifted to the ill-fated Nintendo 64DD attachment for the Nintendo 64. Seeing as the 64DD was an immense failure, the team started work on the project for the Nintendo 64. However, the development team's inexperience with the more powerful hardware, and most notably, creating objects and characters in 3D, led the way to EarthBound 64 (or as it was known in Japan as Mother 3: Butaƍ no Saigo) being shut down. There is some solace in the death of what could have been a terrific RPG to a system starved for them. The ideas from EarthBound 64 would take root and grow into Mother 3 for the Game Boy Advance. Many mechanics, characters, scenarios and such were built from ideas from the EarthBound 64 project. It's just a shame that no one outside of Japan can legally play it in English.

Dead Phoenix (GCN)

GameCube fans like us know all too well about the infamous "Capcom 5." These were five games that were originally announced as exclusive projects for Nintendo's indigo, black, or spice lunch box (we mean that in a loving way). Three of these games were given ports to other platforms. One stayed a GameCube exclusive (P.N.03), while the other, Dead Phoenix, was, well, dead. That was a huge shame, as the game looked rather interesting. It had a winged dude named Phoenix flying around a 3D space, shooting enemies in a vast fantasy world. Pretty cool, huh? After missing its awaited E3 2003 showing, Capcom put Dead Phoenix's flame out for good.

The Getaway 3 (PS3)

Jockeying for position as Sony's own version of GTA, only set in London, The Getaway 3 debuted in a show reel back in 2005. Oh, we were so innocent back then. Anyway, the preceding clips showed off what people expected to receive once they got the game in their hands-- speeding through London city streets, completing missions, and letting loose plenty of "wanker" bombs. Indeed, The Getaway 3 looked rather appealing to many. Unfortunately, Sony did not see the project as promising as gamers did. It cancelled its London's studio's project to have them focus on less ambitious franchises.

StarCraft: Ghost (PS2, GCN, XBX)

Atypical of the StarCraft series, StarCraft: Ghost was a third-person shooter, which at the time before guns in games were commonplace, it was a welcome adjustment to the franchise. The point of this, according to the developers back then, was that a third-person perspective would give players a closer look into the StarCraft universe. The game was originally announced in Fall 2002. Seeing as it has still yet to surface after its 2006 delay, StarCraft: Ghost is the poster child for "vaporware." While it's not "officially" cancelled, the game might as well be and is very much considered so by most of the gaming media. It's really unfortunate, because of all the games featured on this special segment, it was the most complete.

Project HAMMER (Wii)

Another "it hasn't officially been confirmed as cancelled but it might as well be" game is Project HAMMER, a game that was being designed by Nintendo's NST team here in the States. Shown only once, and that was at E3 2006, the game came off as a beat-em-up, allowing the player and their humongous hammer to slam and smash enemies, buildings, and anything else in their way. The disappointment of this game being silently smashed into smithereens is that NST would go on to make more casual-oriented titles instead of more gamer-friendly titles. They had just come off the success of Metroid Prime Hunters, so it was sad (and still is) to see them taking a different road.

Monday, November 11, 2013

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGM - NiGHTS into VGM Edition

After completing the process of placing a few commercials on SuperPhillip Central, it's now time for us to take our attention and set it on our weekly segment, SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGM. Last week we celebrated the 500th VGM, so now we're on our way to our 600th with five new faves. This week's music comes from a variety of games, NiGHTS into Dreams, Mario Kart Wii, and Golden Sun. If you'd like to spend some of your evening looking and listening at past VGMs represented, look no further than this link.

v501. NiGHTS into Dreams (SAT) - NiGHTS

A sweeping and majestic theme for a majestic character, NiGHTS's main theme is full of whimsy. NiGHTS into Dream was one of the top exclusives on the SEGA's Saturn. The character would return in a game on the Wii, but most NiGHTS fans would rather not remember that one...

v502. Mario Kart Wii (Wii) - Moo Moo Meadows

Speaking of the Wii, one of the best selling titles of this past generation was Mario Kart Wii. The game itself was a more beginner-friendly title than past efforts, so it wasn't uncommon to see three blue shells in one race. Still, the track design was superb, and so was the soundtrack, as evidenced by this track, Moo Moo Meadows (aka Moo Moo Country).

v503. Wild ARMs: Alter Code F (PS2) - Curan Abbey

Wild ARMs: Alter Code F was a remake of the very first Wild ARMs, a game that decidedly hasn't aged all too well. This remake, however, has, and while the soundtrack of the original is still great, a remastered soundtrack with all-new tunes was created by the original composer.

v504. Golden Sun (GBA) - Bustling City Tolbi

Motoi Sakuraba is one of our favorite VGM composers, and his influence has elevated games that were great into fantastic titles. Golden Sun is our pick for the best original RPG on the Game Boy Advance. Its use of utilizing Psynergy (magic) outside of battle to solve puzzles was brilliant, as was the world, visuals, battle system, and plot.

v505. Ys I & II Chronicles (PSP, PC) - Palace of Destruction

Yuzo Koshiro (ActRaiser) was the original composer of this track, and now it has been given a hard rock kick to it for the PSP and PC remake. The Ys series is probably has the best music from a series that most people don't know about. It being relegated to non-mainstream platforms is probably the reason why.