Friday, March 28, 2014

Crash Bandicoot (PS1, PSN) Retro Review

This past Wednesday we took at look at Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, a charming PS1 era platformer. Now we take a look at what is the system's most well known platformer, Crash Bandicoot. Bean gives us his opinion on the game with this retro review.

Crash Course

Way back before Naughty Dog was making cinematic-oriented games, they were a company that was struggling to find a direction for themselves. Mark Cerny, who at the time worked at Universal Interactive Studios, liked the promise that the team had and asked the studio to try and put that ability into making a new platformer. Many had tried to compete with Nintendo's series in the past, but at the time, only Sonic the Hedgehog had seen any semblance of lasting success. It seemed an odd move, but there was one advantage the team had. The game would not be a simple side-scroller, but a 3D-based one instead. The game, of course, would be none other than Crash Bandicoot, and it would be one that Sony quickly signed on to their Playstation in order to compete with Nintendo. How was this first game that helped put Naughty Dog on the map? You don't have to answer that. I will.

Crash Bandicoot has the titular character mutated into his hero-to-be self by one Dr. Cortex and the sinister scientist's Evolvo-Ray. The animal is subjected to a mind-control experiment from another invention known as the Cortex Vortex, but this machine fails, and the marsupial is tossed out with the trash. During his time in captivity, the bandicoot found a love interest, so I guess we have our standard save the world and get the girl plot that this genre is famous for!

As stated earlier, Crash Bandicoot isn't a standard platformer. The game focuses on platforming in 3D, even in levels that look like they would be traditional, 2D side-scrolling stages. The object of the game is to not only reach the end of the level, but also break every box in your path along the way. This is actually easier said than done in a lot of cases as a good many levels offer a decent degree of challenge to them, whether it be with enemies placed in spots that will hinder your movement or stage hazards that will cause you to plummet to your doom in no time at all. It's certainly not an easy task considering the decent variety in levels and sometimes the not so decent flaws that come along with it.

There's plenty of level types to get going through. Standard stages see Crash running forward through a jungle environment and dealing with the local wildlife such as crabs or aggressive plants. To combat these annoyances, you have the old-school ability to hop right on their heads with the X button or go and use Crash's patented spin attack by pressing square instead. In some cases, you'll have to use both techniques in tandem to be able to take down an enemy. For instance, one level early on in the game sees Crash trying to scale a wooden fortress. Along the way, he'll run into tribesmen that are carrying shields. If you try to spin into them right off the bat, you'll be bounced back until you're most likely pushed right into a pit. That said, if you jump direct on top of a tribesman at first, he'll raise his shield to block you, giving players a chance to spin him out of the way. I do like how it's pretty easy to tell which enemies you'll need to do this on. It's something a lot of platformers, even today, can get wrong at times. Yeah, I'm looking right at you, Sonic: Lost World.

Again, the variety of levels you'll go through in this game's three islands is a nice thing. Even better, many of these types get more than a one-and-done treatment, and I think it's good to refine what you have instead of throwing in everything and the kitchen sink. Platforming on moving lilypads, climbing temple structures, running towards the screen to avoid getting squashed by a giant boulder, and hopping on a hog for a little animal buddy stage, these levels will are generally fun and manage to get the whole fun factor thing down right. There are two examples, though, where I found that not to be the case. These are the bridge and darkness levels.

The former will see you doing thin platform jumps, with some of those breaking almost instantly on you if you mistime your jumps in any fashion. To make matters worse, there are parts in both bridge stages where planks will be invisible until you walk right up to them. This happens at the start or end, depending on which bridge you're on. I absolutely loathed going through Road to Nowhere and falling to my doom after reaching a hidden path just beyond the goal as you have to make a few leaps of faith to cross planks. Miss one jump, and bye-bye boxes. Did I mention that checkpoints in this game don't save your boxes broken progress as they all respawn? Yeah, you have to clear these in one go, or you might as well just back out and start the stage over.

The issue with the darkness levels are that there is that the terrain itself will get in your way more often or not. Taking place in a castle, some parts to these stages have you jumping around doors that I had Crash get stuck on a few times. The worst level in the game, Fumbling in the Dark, is one where you have to jump around doors four times in succession and angle yourself to the sides of the room to both break the level's first few boxes and not fall into the giant pit in the middle of the area. The moment Crash gets caught on the wall, his momentum just halts, and you will fall into said pit more times than you'd care for. As a guy that already can't stand darkness gimmicks to begin with, mixing in more frustration due to a geometry glitch is something I could have done without. Luckily, Naughty Dog agreed as other entries in the series would not have you platforming against the game's physics engine. Good.

So you're going through and breaking boxes, but what's the point? Well, your reward for making it through a level with every busted box is a gem. Most of the time, these will be simple silver-colored ones that do nothing but increase your percentage progress, but there are a few stages that offer a better reward. By making it to the end of those, you'll receive a colored gem. You see, some levels have paths that would otherwise be inaccessible until you earn these crystals. This does make you have to do some forced backtracking to clear out the small number of boxes you were previously missing, but these paths are generally easy enough to get through. I can't get too annoyed with this, but I will say that I wish the gem paths would have occurred in levels beyond the point where I earned them instead of in previous ones.

Boxes themselves have plenty of goodies inside of them. Aside from the game's version of coins known as Wumpa Fruit and extra life ones, there's also a floating mask known as Aku Aku. This magical mask grants Crash the ability to take an extra hit or two depending on how many crates of Aku's you can find. If you get three without taking a hit, you'll turn invincible. Not only does this allow you to plow through enemies like there's no tomorrow, but you'll also tear through boxes and see an increase to your speed. It's only a temporary thing before it reverts back into its level two form, but it's nice when you can earn it. The last item that you can get from boxes are tokens of either Crash's girlfriend, Cortex, or his assistant. In levels where they appear, they always show up in threes. Collect all three, and you'll be able to enter into a bonus round. Depending on which three tokens were collected, you can either collect quite a few more lives and instantly make a superfluous save or get sent to a more challenging area. The two Cortex ones will unlock hidden levels if you can make it to the end of them.

The goal of all this is to get through all three of the game's islands and put a stop to Cortex and his army of both natives and mutants. That said, the bosses in this game are so basic that it's almost a wonder if they were just tacked on for the sake of having them. Most involve you just slowly dodging obstacles that will have no chance of hitting you even on an off day and only take a handful of hits before going down. Even Dr. Cortex himself is simply a matter of dodging his slow-moving chemical concoctions while spinning the correct one back into him. If there's one flaw that Naughty Dog has had over the years, it's that they're usually unable to design an engaging boss encounter.

In the end, I left feeling satisfied but also thought there were enough flaws to keep me from outright recommending it. It has some interesting design decisions at the very least, even if those decisions are a mixed bag. Thankfully, the foundation that was established with this game would be built upon in future installments. That said, Crash Bandicoot is a respectful first attempt at creating a game in a genre that was trying to take off in the mid-90s. As such, I do think it's worth your time, but I won't be surprised if you some of you Crash and burn after playing this game.

[SPC Says: 7.0/10]

- Bean

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Despite Being the "Uncool" Platforms, I'm Proud to Own a Wii U and Vita.

If systems were children in middle school, Nintendo's Wii U and Sony's PlayStation Vita would be the ones that were bullied all the time. Of course, there's really no emotional scarring when video game hardware is considered, unless you are VERY emotionally involved in gaming, but my analogy still holds some weight. The point here is that these two platforms are sort of like the fish floating at the top of the bowl, while the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo 3DS swim around happily below. ...I don't know why I felt the need to do yet another analogy.

ANYWAY... the Wii U and PlayStation Vita are on life support with poor hardware sales, worse software sales, and little hope of gaining any traction in the market. With the Wii U, many are doubting Nintendo's relevance in the industry, something that would have been shocking to think about a generation ago. It simply shows how quickly success comes and goes. We've learned that with Sony's transition between the ultra-successful PS2 and the once floundering PS3.

Regardless, even if these platforms are seen as "uncool" by gamers, I can't help but love and find both platforms severely underrated. Excuse me while I stand up and admit this to the group as if this were an A.A. meeting-- "I'm Phil Stortzum. I'm a gamer... and I'm proud to own a Wii U and PlayStation Vita."

I remember the feeling I had walking into Best Buy a cold December night, picking up a deluxe Wii U, paying for it, wrapping it up when I got home, and sitting it under the Christmas tree. It's always been somewhat of a tradition for my family to get Nintendo platforms close to each of their launches.

However, I didn't really think Nintendo would blow their momentum from the Wii in such an astronomical and historic way. Software sales are not impressive by any means, and that resulted in third-parties cancelling projects or straight out abandoning the platform. Even knowing that I won't be getting games in series like Batman, Need for Speed, Final Fantasy, and Kingdom Hearts, for starters, doesn't really do much to annoy me. With a collection of 24 retail Wii U games, 13 of which are from third-parties, I'm more than satisfied with my purchase, even if the system takes an early retirement.

I've already got to revisit one of the more beloved Legend of Zelda games with The Wind Waker HD, was able to conquer one of the greatest 2D platformers ever in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, had a blast playing co-op with my brother in the fantastic Super Mario 3D World, explored the streets of LEGO City with the best LEGO game yet in LEGO City Undercover, survived the terror and fright of the game that probably makes the best use of the Wii U GamePad in ZombiU, smiled more than I gritted my teeth in frustration with Sonic: Lost World, had fun gatherings with friends and family thanks to both Nintendo Land and Wii Party U, and took down mighty behemoths in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate online with friends across the world. It would be an apt statement to say that I've more than made my Wii U purchase worth it.

Those who harass Wii U owners and the system they possess always seem like so very bitter individuals. It wouldn't surprise me if most of them had never touched the system or its unique controller. If they had, perhaps they would see exactly what they're missing. I know that I no longer take for granted being able to peek at a map in an open world game without needing to pause my progress, or decide between playing a console game or watching TV because now I can do both via off-TV play for most titles. The Wii U started off with me hesitant and unsure of whether I felt screwed out of money, but now I can't imagine my gaming life without it.

Shifting gears (or rather systems), I recently received a PlayStation Vita from a trade on a gaming site (GameTZ). It came with a 16 GB memory card and a charger. Already I own nine games for the system, with a tenth coming in the mail next week sometime. Like the Wii U, it absolutely bewilders me how anyone can say that the system is lacking in games. The great thing about owning a platform that isn't selling well (as weird as that is to say) is that one can find terrific deals for software, even in brand-new and sealed form. The most I've spent on a game so far is $30.00 exactly, and that was for a more niche and rarer game, Ys: Memories of Celceta.

I'm looking through my collection of nine PlayStation Vita games, and I'm still realizing how much I'm missing from my library. I still have Person 4 Golden, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Final Fantasy X/X-2, and Ragnarok Odyssey Ace to acquire. There's too many worthwhile titles available, and that's not even counting all of the digital software already on the PlayStation Store with more content coming in week after week. Sony has established the PlayStation line of hardware as the go-to place for indies. The company makes no attempts to hide this fact, even championing it frequently. I have to be stingy on my PS Store purchases, however, because I have but 16 GB of data on my memory card.

That reveals itself to be my main problem with the PlayStation Vita, and it's no secret to any owner or potential owner of the sexy device. The Vita uses Sony's proprietary memory cards, seen in storage amounts of 8 GB, 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB. However, even the 8 GB card, which hardly holds enough content as is, is rather expensive. When you're looking at upwards of nearly $100 to upgrade to the 64 GB card, you know that your memory cards are too pricey!

Not the actual size.
(It's actually MUCH smaller!)
Still, I can't stay mad at my Vita. Its features and technology just amaze me. As a kid of the early 90's, I would have never believed you if you said that games so complex and full of technical detail could be possible on a machine that fits in the palms of my hands. We've come a long way since the Game & Watch and Game Boy, that's for sure!

The following wasn't supposed to come off as me trying to rationalize my purchases as a way to say "Hey, Phil. You DIDN'T waste your money." No, it was more to show that both platforms have a wide variety and amount of software and features that make them worth getting, and to show how a typical owner like myself can find great enjoyment from both platforms. The negative press doesn't affect me as an owner of both, but it obviously affects those on the fence about getting either the Wii U or Vita. Who wants a system that is constantly called doomed or a failure?

My approach with this editorial was to show that both the Wii U and PlayStation Vita are worthwhile choices for anyone who has the spare time and money to fully invest themselves in the platforms. By simply giving them a chance, one will find that each offers an abundance of software and features that cannot be found anywhere else. Even if this approach doesn't work, my happiness derived from both Wii U and the Vita will most likely ignore any negativity surrounding either.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Klonoa: Door to Phantomile (PS1, PSN) Retro Review

Time for a review of the retro variety with Klonoa's debut! Phil previously reviewed the Wii remake of Klonoa: Door to Phantomile in 2009 with his early review. A handful of years later, and he's at it again. This time Phil is reviewing the original game that hit the PlayStation One back in 1998. Is it better or worse than the Wii-make? Let's find out.

Is Klonoa's Game Good?
Well, Do His Ears Hang Low?

Poor Klonoa. It seems you're always overlooked by the gaming masses. It's a shame, too, as your games are seldom not an entertaining time. In 1998, the floppy eared feline known as Klonoa debuted in the gaming world on the original PlayStation with Klonoa: Door to Phantomile. Since then, Klonoa has seen various sequels and spinoffs, as well as a Wii remake of his first game. Is the Door to Phantomile one you should still want to open, even after all of these years?

"My precious..."
Klonoa and his best friend Huepow, an animated water bubble that rests inside Klonoa's ring, live in Phantomile. One day, a spaceship crashes into a mountain. Klonoa and Huepow immediately investigate, eventually getting involved in a quarrel with Gladius, a nightmare spirit who wants nothing more than total destruction. While there is the typical good vs. evil story trope here, there's also some heartfelt and even somber moments in Door to Phantomile that makes for a story that stays with you after the Klonoa's quest is complete. Outside a few full-motion video clips, the story is mainly told through in-game scenes, where the characters speak in a fictional Phantomile language while text boxes display their words. All of these scenes can be skipped through if one feels the need.

Maybe someone hit the rewind button...
There's plenty of interesting ideas that separates Klonoa: Door to Phantomile from the rest of the PlayStation era platforming pack. For one, levels are modeled in 3D, but Klonoa and other characters move along a 2D plane. This 2-1/2D (or if you're more computer literate, 2.5D) gameplay means you'll be running around objects; get greeted by split paths, each meandering their own ways; and having multiple points where paths intersect, allowing you to access new areas. You can even interact with objects in the background and foreground, opening up some clever puzzles and secrets. It feels like a 3D world, yet you're running along a 2D plane the entire time.

Level paths curve, twist, and cross
one another to impressive effect.
The other concept that shows immense novelty is Klonoa's Wind Bullet. With a shot of the Wind Bullet, a gust of wind can pick up nearby enemies. These then are held above Klonoa's head. Through jumping up into the air and then pressing the jump button again, you can make Klonoa use the enemy as a means to initiate a double jump. This allows Klonoa to access otherwise impossible to reach platforms. Seeing as this move also throws the enemy downward, you can clear out enemies from above mid double jump.

Enemies nabbed by the Wind Bullet
will inflate up like a balloon.
Aside from using enemies for extra height, Klonoa can chuck enemies into other foes and objects. There's times where you will have to chuck an enemy into the background to activate a switch or destroy a piece of scenery to reveal a secret. This element of gameplay remains unique and very much innovative.

Such secrets include six Phantomillians that have been captured inside bubbles that are strewn about the game's levels, usually in hazardous areas or ones that are the road less traveled. Not only does rescuing all 72 Phantomillians unlock an extra level to check out, but Klonoa: Door to Phantomile possesses 12 relatively lengthy levels for its story. Still, the game won't last players for too long. Simply breezing through the game (although it does contain some challenge here and there) offers players but three or four hours of game time. However, Door to Phantomile is one of those titles that just begs to be played over and over again. It's the perfect length for that, right alongside Super Mario Bros. 3, Mega Man 2, and Sonic the Hedgehog, for instance.

Are you... Are you hovering over
the walkway? Based Klonoa!
Each second level of Door to Phantomile, or as the game refers to each as a vision, concludes with a boss fight. Most take place in a circular arena of some sort, and utilize the Wind Bullet mechanic in a lot of ingenious ways. One boss requires you to launch Klonoa up in the air with a spring and then toss an enemy into the boss's open mouth to damage it. Another takes place on a swinging log that moves backward and forward. When the log sways close to the player, that's Klonoa's cue to grab an enemy. When the log sways towards the boss, Klonoa needs to chuck the enemy forward into one of the creature's colored weak points.

If this boss and Klonoa kept circling the
arena, Yakety Sax would be a good song choice.
Obviously comparing Klonoa's first outing to games of today's standards would not be fair, so let's make note of the game's graphics compared to its contemporaries. Many PS1 era games that had 3D modeling oftentimes give me headaches after extended play sessions. However, Door to Phantomile isn't one of those games. While backgrounds, environments, and bosses are polygonal, other characters such as Klonoa and enemies are 2D sprites. This creates a lovely visual style that holds up pretty well. Door to Phantomile exudes charm from every orifice. Furthermore, the music of Door to Phantomile is memorable, offering many melodies and tunes that can easily be hummed as you play along. The gibberish voice acting applied to each character's speech is a cute touch, but when Klonoa screams, it can be a bit grating to the ears.

Klonoa: Door to Phantomile is a PlayStation One classic that any platformer fan should not go without. It's charming, it plays great, it features a gameplay mechanic that is still novel to this day, and it welcomes you to play through it multiple times every now and then. Although the gaming world and even Namco Bandai have turned their collective back on the character, I'm still enamored by that long-eared cat with the power of the wind. Me-wow! ...Forget I just said that.

[SPC Says: 8.5/10]

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Unpopular Opinion 3: 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 and second articles, click this link and this link. After you're done reading our choices, why not list some of your own?

Knack (PS4)

A new IP that launched with the PlayStation 4, Knack received a lot of criticism for being too linear and not fully realizing the potential of its biggest gameplay feature. However, we're of the opinion that Knack delivers just enough accessibility, joy, and foundations of solid gameplay concepts to make the game worthwhile and enjoyable to play. Its drop-in/drop-out co-op allows players of ages to join one another on a charming journey.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)

Perhaps it was fatigue with the franchise or something else, but longtime Nintendo fans hold New Super Mario Bros. 2 in contempt in some regards. While it didn't reinvent the wheel by any means, it showed to us at SuperPhillip Central that the next generation of developers that Nintendo has employed (after all, it was the new guys who made the levels for the game) are more than capable of continuing the legacy of the Super Mario franchise. The level design offers clever twists on old concepts while throwing in some fresh level obstacles to keep the game feeling fresh. It's not Mario's grandest 2D adventure, but it is incredibly competent and entertaining.

Yoshi's New Island (3DS)

Many have called Yoshi's New Island, the most recent game on this installment's list, too easy. However, we take the stance that it's only "too easy" if you simply blaze through the game. Through getting 100% completion on each and every level, especially the dreaded S levels, is no small task, and it quite simply boosts the longevity of Yoshi's New Island considerably. Perhaps our only gripes with Yoshi's latest are the forced gyro vehicle transformation sections, the reliance on one melody for the majority of songs in the game, and some obtuse design when it comes to some secrets. Other than, Yoshi's New Island gives us a warm feeling of familiarity with some new ideas tossed in like Yoshi would chuck an egg.

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures (Multi)

Now, here we're talking about the console versions of Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, the game based off of the new Disney XD cartoon series of the same name. We have yet to experience the Nintendo 3DS 2D version. Anyhow, while the newest Pac-Man isn't the most innovative game out there, it really does showcase some interesting and logical level design, offering some inventive concepts. The game is on the easy side, but it can now be find at even more budget-y price than it already was at, so there's very little to lose when trying out this overlooked 3D platformer.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS)

There was plenty of disappointment to go around when Paper Mario: Sticker Star released on the Nintendo 3DS. For one, it made battles relatively worthless, no longer offering experience points or leveling up. Another issue was using stickers for combat. Then there's the lack of partner characters, new characters, or an interesting story to sink one's teeth into. Finally, boss battles relied on having the right sticker and using it at the right time. Many of these uses were obtuse, so how in the world did any of us enjoy the game? Whether it was the charm, the brilliant music, or the fact that we had a guide as we played, Paper Mario: Sticker Star wasn't the massive disappointment that is was for so many fans of the RPG franchise.

Mega Man X5 (PS1)

We know Bean doesn't like this entry in the Mega Man X series, and like him, others believe Mega Man X5 is the turning point of the series. It started the downhill slide of quality the franchise suffered through. However, while the rest of us (all two of us) agree that X5 wasn't as polished and fantastic as its predecessors, we find that the game is still of a great quality. It contains some challenging levels, each with their own personality, Mavericks that are mighty formidable, more secrets to find than ever before, and a sensational soundtrack to complement the entire experience. While Mega Man X5 falters in ways that prior Mega Man X games did not, it is still very much a fun and playable game.

Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity (Wii, PS2)

The Sonic Riders series has a cult following-- well, except that Xbox 360 Kinect exclusive one. Regardless, the majority of reviewers find the games lacking in several regards. To us, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity makes for an innovative racer that uses gravity as its main mechanic featuring a wide cast of Sonic the Hedgehog characters to unlock and play as. Of course, if you're playing the Wii version, stay away from the gimmicky motion controls and proudly rock a GameCube controller. From perfectly executing sharp turns without losing speed with the power gravity to performing a high scoring trick in mid air, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity isn't for everyone, but it is certainly a game for us.

Dynasty Warriors Gundam series (PS3, 360)

The majority of the SuperPhillip Central staff don't generally care for the majority of Dynasty Warriors games. It's not because we don't like the gameplay or anything like that, it's just that we aren't really interested in Japanese history all too much. Names of warriors we can't spell, much less pronounce don't really do anything for us, but giant freaking mobile suits that look awesome and can fly? Sweet. Sure, the Dynasty Warriors series is known for being repetitive, and adding Gundams to that doesn't change anything, but the Dynasty Warriors Gundam trilogy allows us to feel like bad asses, slashing, slicing, and shooting thousands of foes into space dust.

Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop (Wii)

Calling the Wii version of Capcom's Dead Rising a port would be folly. It's more of a re-imagining, as it uses a completely different structure to it. While Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop is essentially a poor man's version of the Xbox 360 original, it is still a game that we enjoyed and recommend. Using the Resident Evil 4 engine, developer Tose created shooting that feels so much better than what was found on the 360. Yes, there's much less polish to be found, much less zombies, and a more linear progression, but Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop delights us to this day. It's just awesome to point the Wii Remote at the screen and pick off zombies, parrots, and poodles.

Monday, March 24, 2014

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - Mario vs. Donkey Kong vs. Sonic vs. Mega Man Edition

This week on SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs we have two new games that have yet to be featured on our long and exhaustive list of games. The first is Super Mario 3D World, while the second is the more recent Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. There's also some retro goodness inside this week's choices as well, including music from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Mega Man 10, which technically isn't retro, but it's styled in such a way. If you have recommendations for themes that we've yet to offer for your listening pleasure, give us a comment below! Now, onto the music!

v591. Super Mario 3D World (Wii U) - Staff Roll

We start off with the runner-up to SuperPhillip Central's Best of 2013 Game of the Year, Super Mario 3D World. The Staff Roll theme is an immaculate version of the main theme of the game, as well as having a piece of Bowser's theme thrown in for good measure. It all adds up to a very satisfying theme for your victory against the King of the Koopas.

v592. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U) - Windmill Hills

Another recent Wii U platformer is Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. This game saw the return of the masterful composer that is David Wise to the Donkey Kong Country series. Windmill Hills is the first level of the second of the game's six islands. Autumn Heights, the island in question, is without a doubt one of our favorites within the game.

v593. Mario Hoops 3-on-3 (DS) - Character Select

It's hard to think of a more catchy character select screen theme in a Mario game than what Mario Hoops 3-on-3 possesses. While the game itself is one of Mario's weakest sports outings, the soundtrack of the game is almost enough to salvage the entire package. It's a wonderfully magnificent series of themes that will get your toes tapping and your mouth grinning.

v594. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (GEN) - Metropolis Zone

Although this three act zone near the end of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Genesis can be described as a hellish nightmare of tricky platforming and challenging (sometimes cheap) enemy placement, the Metropolis Zone's theme helps to make the hazardous industrial level able to be suffered through.

v595. Mega Man 10 (Multi) - Solar Man's Stage

With Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10, fans of the Blue Bomber witnessed a renaissance of the Mega Buster-wielding robot. Both games were made in pure 8-bit form, much like the NES games that made the series popular. Inti Creates were the folks behind the development of these games, and the music provided to listeners in the games sound faithful to the classics.