Saturday, April 11, 2015

Monster Hunter Stories (3DS) Debut Trailer

"Unexpected" seems to be an apt word for this new game. Coming out from left field, Monster Hunter Stories takes the series to a more lighthearted level with a cel-shaded and colorful look. This game is set to be some kind of RPG. Not much is known of Monster Hunter Stories aside from that, save for that it's coming to the Nintendo 3DS sometime next year.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The 21 Best Nintendo 3DS eShop Games Released So Far

Coming off the heels of last Friday's list of what I consider to be the best Nintendo 3DS retail games, I have a companion piece to share with you. This time, I'm looking through the massive digital pile of 3DS eShop games and compiling a list of my 21 favorites. It was a difficult list to come up with just 20 so I had to make it 21, and it was even harder to create a satisfying order. However, the job is done, and I share with you the best of what the 3DS eShop has to offer! After you've given this second list a once-over, I'd be mighty interested to read your thoughts on your favorite Nintendo 3DS eShop titles!

21) The Denpa Men: They Came By Wave

If you don't mind spinning around in public using the augmented reality function of the Nintendo 3DS camera to zap up Denpa Men to join your party and enter difficult dungeons, participating in RPG style combat, then The Denpa Men: They Came By Wave would be up your alley. Just realize that under its cute exterior lies a true beast of a game with some high challenge at some parts. Still, The Denpa Men was a charming game that was packed with content and replay value.

20) Dillon's Rolling Western series

Between the original Dillon's Rolling Western and its sequel, The Last Ranger, the series was one that was a mix between action and tower defense gameplay. From the amount of charm from the world and its cast of characters alone, I would say that the two Dillon's Rolling Western games are worth a look. It just so happens that the gameplay of the two titles fortunately make these Wild West wonders worth playing.

19) Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai

The 3D platformer was once the genre in gaming. Unfortunately, nowadays the industry is oversaturated with shooters. Putting away my old man cane and putting an end to me yelling at clouds, Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai was a modest combination of "3D at times and 2D at others" platformer that brought with it fun level design, relatively tight controls, and Nintendo 64-era nostalgia that hit players right in the heartstrings.

18) HarmoKnight

It is rare for Game Freak to do something besides the mainline Pokemon games, so it was a breath of fresh air to see HarmoKnight come from the studio. This rhythm platformer had you jumping and attacking in time with the beats of the music. Boss battles consisted of memorizing beats and replaying them in time, or else face defeat! Featuring creative and varied levels, challenging boss battles, and plenty to complete, HarmoKnight was a great experiment from Game Freak and Nintendo.

17) Colors! 3D

For those with creative and artistic bones in their bodies came Colors! 3D. This artistic tool allowed users to draw and paint on one of a handful of different layers. When combined, these completed layers would show a stereoscopic 3D picture. One could upload their creation to the application's online servers to share their work with the world. One could also check out other creators' works for a truly fantastic and satisfying application that was affordable to purchase and own.

16) Mighty Switch Force series

Wayforward sees their first of two game series on this list of 20 best 3DS eShop games with their Mighty Switch Force series. Part platformer, part action series, the Mighty Switch Force series had players rushing through levels, shooting foes, switching between one color of platforms being on while the other was off, and capturing escaped prisoners. This was all while being on the clock. The fun of the series came from speed runs, attempting to beat the target times for each level.

15) Tappingo series

Tappingo has seen two games thus far on the Nintendo 3DS eShop. The premise of both was similar somewhat to Picross. Instead of the numbers being on the side of the puzzle, they were on tiles in the puzzles themselves. You extended the tiles by the amount displayed on them until you finished with a piece of tile art, representing a multitude of different objects. It was an affordable puzzle series that came with a lot of tricky puzzles to keep players coming back for more.

14) Fluidity: Spin Cycle

A sequel to the WiiWare's Fluidity, this Nintendo 3DS sequel was made up of bite-sized levels rather than a Metroid-style map. You turned and spun the Nintendo 3DS in your hands to move around a puddle of water, solving environmental and physics-based puzzles to reunite with the girl droplet of water at the end of each stage. With great puzzle and level design, Fluidity: Spin Cycle was a terrific and fresh hydro adventure.

13) Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword

Take the concept of Punch-Out!! but offer 3D movement, and you have what Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword offered players. From blocking projectiles to narrowly escaping offensive strikes from rival swordsmen and samurai alike, Sakura Samurai was a test for one's reflexes and attention that delivered exciting gameplay with some adventure-inspired aspects.

12) Nano Assault EX

Shin'en Multimedia is known for getting A LOT of the Nintendo hardware the studio works on, and Nano Assault EX was no exception. The game featured 3D spaceship battles along a spherical-like surface as players shot down viruses and other germs. Other times players sped through an on-rails section similar to Star Fox 64. Both play styles made for an exciting and oftentimes highly challenging shoot-em-up affair.

11) Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move

Unlike past games in the series, this time Mario and Donkey Kong teamed up in a 3D puzzle game. By placing tiles down, players created paths for the miniature wind-up figurines to follow, all the while collecting coins and reaching the goal unscathed. There were four main modes in Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move, and each offered plenty of play time regardless of one's skill level.

10) Mutant Mudds

Sometimes simplicity is all one needs for a highly competent 2D platformer. That was what Renegade Kid's Mutant Mudds had in excess. You had three functions: jumping, hovering, and shooting. This was combined with the ability to shift into the background and foreground of levels at specific points to really show the stereoscopic 3D effect of the Nintendo 3DS system to a sublime degree. It helped that the entire game was a blast to play, even if it could make you second guess exactly how good you were at 2D platformers with its old-school difficulty!

9) SteamWorld Dig

Between its 2D platformer roots, besides running and jumping, SteamWorld Dig's main focus was on mining ores. These ores were brought back from underground onto the surface to be traded for money and goods. The amount of underground layers to explore was only beaten by the number of layers of sensational gameplay that was able to be discovered. With randomized ore placement and mine setups, SteamWorld Dig was a game that one could log a lot of hours into for a modest price of entry.

8) Shantae and the Pirate's Curse

Wayforward's Shantae was a product of the Game Boy Color, offering one of the most graphically advanced games on the system. The genie returned with a Metroid-style adventure called Shantae and the Pirate's Curse. This game gave players a brief adventure but one dense with satisfying 2D platforming gameplay that begged players to return to Pirate's Curse's colorful and superbly designed world long after the first play-through of the game was completed.

7) Retro City Rampage

Take a profusion of video game and movie references, combine it with old-school Grand Theft Auto overhead gameplay, and jazz it up with NES-style graphics, and you had a retro-tacular game called Retro City Rampage for the Nintendo 3DS. While the game was not exclusive to the 3DS, it played marvelously on the system, and most of the references and humor would be welcomed best by older Nintendo fans. It helped that the actual game was of great quality for one retro-styled GTA-esque game.

6) Pokemon Rumble World

The game that is the newest of those on this list, Pokemon Rumble World gave me quite a bit of trepidation when it was announced. It was free-to-play, which raised warning flags in my head immediately. However, Pokemon Rumble World shows that this time around-- unlike Pokemon Scramble-- this is Nintendo doing F2P right. With a limit on how much one can spend total, gameplay that gives you enough content to play through without even needing to spend any money, and the simple but addictive battling that the Pokemon Rumble sub-series is known for, you have one of my favorite Nintendo 3DS eShop games available.

5) Gunman Clive series

Primarily developed by one man, the Gunman Clive duo of games immediately drew me in with its animated sketch-like visuals at first. Then I was captivated by its Mega Man-style gameplay. Both games in the Gunman Clive series were short romps, but they were ones that stuck with me. It was so much so, that I couldn't help but replay both of them, if to not just unlock a new character, then just to experience the tight gameplay of both all over again. These are well crafted 2D action platformers with a lot to owe to gaming's past.

4) Azure Striker Gunvolt

Since Capcom was all but too happy to let their history-rich Mega Man franchise stay on what seems to be a near-permanent hiatus, it was up to other developers to fill in the gap left by the Blue Bomber's absence. Inti Creates, makers of the Mega Man Zero games and Mega Man 9 and 10, stepped forward with Azure Striker Gunvolt. It was an action platformer with similarities to the developer's past works, but at the same time different enough to be its own satisfying and highly challenging beast. Thankfully, the game was a sales success, and we'll be seeing a sequel shortly.

3) Box Boy!

Also a new release (within the past week or so), Box Boy! came from Intelligent Systems, makers of the Fire Emblem and Advance Wars series. It was a simple in looks puzzle platformer where players controlled the eponymous character through basic designed 2D levels. He could summon boxes from his body to use to hold down buttons and reach new heights. Again, sometimes the greatest concepts come from simplicity, and this was no better shown in Intelligent Systems' next great game, Box Boy!

2) Pushmo

Another puzzle game from Intelligent Systems, Pushmo was one of the first breakout hits for the Nintendo 3DS eShop. It revolved around pushing and pulling blocks from towers to scale and reach the very top where the goal usually was located. The added fun of Pushmo came from creating and sharing one's own puzzling creations, making a game that was already bursting with longevity possess even more. So many hours were lost solving Pushmo puzzles and creating my own that this game just HAD to be my pick as second best Nintendo 3DS eShop game thus far.

1) Shovel Knight

Take everything you like about the level design of the Mega Man series, the towns of Zelda II, and the cane-bouncing of DuckTales, and you have Shovel Knight, an amazing 2D action platformer from Yacht Club Games, a developer made up of former Wayforward employees. Shovel Knight was 2D action platforming done right with impeccable level design, great boss encounters, and plenty of secrets to keep players playing long after the credits rolled.

Star Wars: Battlefront (PS2, XBX) Retro Review

As my review opening will say, next Friday is the special Star Wars Celebration event. Here, not only will info of the latest Star Wars film be unveiled, but also we will see the first trailer and footage of the newest Star Wars: Battlefront. Seems like a smart enough time to talk about the original, no? Here is my retro review of the first Star Wars: Battlefront.

Battle or battle not, there is no try.

On April 17, 2015 a special Star Wars Celebration event will occur, and EA will be in attendance. DICE, makers of the Battlefield series, is also going to be there, and it has been confirmed that they'll be showing off the first footage of the newest Star Wars: Battlefront. As someone who enjoyed the series in high school, I was interested by this announcement. Not just for a new Battlefront game after all this time, but also for the chance to look back on the games prior to this DICE-developed entry. That's exactly what I'm going to do, and while the original Battlefront wasn't a long, long time ago, nor was it in a galaxy far, far away, it's been long enough that I can see if the game still holds up.

Star Wars: Battlefront's main mode pits you in the role of a soldier in one of four major factions. For the Clone Wars section of the game (the prequel episodes of the Star Wars movie series) you have the Galactic Republic and Confederacy of Independent Systems (CIS) which you play on both sides. Meanwhile, the original trilogy has you first as a soldier for the Galactic Empire before seeing the story through the eyes of the Rebel Alliance. In between battles is footage taken directly from Episodes I, II, IV, V, and VI. (Episode III had not been released at the time the game was in development.)

You couldn't hit the broad side of a pile of Bantha fodder!
The aim of each battle in Star Wars: Battlefront is the same. Each epic encounter is a two-sided affair where the goal is to either wipe out and decimate the other side's forces completely or to capture all of the command posts on a given map.

This is performed by spawning at one of your faction's command posts, choosing a class, and working with the AI to destroy the opposing side. There are five classes for each faction, but all but one class is the same for all factions. There are opportunities to choose a simple soldier with a blaster, a soldier who uses a missile launcher, great for taking out vehicles, and a sniper class, for starters.

The Theed map on Naboo is one of my favorites in the game.
Each of the over a dozen maps house interesting geometry to make for some engaging battles. Some are wide open like the Battle of Naboo, great for hopping inside vehicles to speed across the map, while others like Mos Eisley are much more contained, filled to the brim with hiding places, choke points, sniper locations, and plenty of cover to get behind during the intense battles.

These speeder bikes can be a bit unwieldy.
Mind the curves and don't crash!
As stated, many maps within Battlefront offer vehicles. While these can blast and blow away infantry fighters and those on foot very easily, they come at a cost. For the faster vehicles, they're harder to control and do less damage. Meanwhile, the more powerful vehicles such as the AT-ST from the Return of the Jedi's Battle of Endor may put a dent in the opposition, but they move incredibly slowly, making them easy targets. Each vehicle can only fire their lasers so much until there is a cool-down period where they much wait for them to recharge, another point that makes them open to attack.

Being right in the middle of an epic battle in the original
Battlefront still invigorates me like nothing else!
As entertaining as reliving battles from the Star Wars saga with you being able to fight in them is, as well as participating in battles you didn't even know you wanted to be a part of until you fight in them yourself, Star Wars: Battlefront's spectacle is sort of undermined by the poor AI. You can order them around with simple commands via the d-pad, making them follow you or stay back to defend a command post, but in general, the AI is not very bright. Sure, they'll enter a vehicle or a turret if it's nearby them, but oftentimes those that aren't part of the direct fighting will sit back and stand around doing nothing. It makes the game's battles easy for the most part.

Aside from the Campaign mode, for single players there is also Galactic Conquest. Based on conflicts within the Star Wars saga, players choose from a set of planets and a side of the war. By participating in battles and winning them, you conquer planets, earn bonuses, and try to win over the entirety of the planets in that configuration. There are multiple sets of planets and sides to take on, all culminating with the player conquering the entire galaxy with their chosen faction.

Alone, Star Wars: Battlefront is not that meaty of a game. Sure, there is the spectacle of being right in the middle of amazing confrontations, being a part of a big army, taking out enemies, and fighting in a massive battle. However, the single player modes are so quick to beat that the experience will have you replaying very similar missions and maps in no time at all. Battlefront is more to be played with friends, and there is the ability to play the game in split-screen with another player. This is an absolute joy to do, as you can coordinate how you're going to go about the battle, split up tasks, or just team up and blow the other faction to kingdom come. Wherever that may actually be.

You don't get points for fashion.
Actually, you don't get points at all in Battlefront!
Star Wars: Battlefront is still a pretty good looking game, especially when you consider the scope of battle, how many soldiers on either side need to be rendered, all of the action that is taking place, and how the game does all this with very minimal slowdown. The sound is done well, offering exactly what you would hear in the movies, such as blaster lasers firing about, speeder bikes zooming past, and all of it combined with John Williams' sensational score. The original voice acting that performed in the game sounds terrific and could almost be believed to be the genuine article.

Overall, Star Wars: Battlefront lacks longevity for solo players, but it contains a lot of goodness and replay value for multiplayer gamers. While the online is no longer in service, a band of two friends or family members will have a lot of fun coordinating and splitting up tasks to achieve victory in battle. As for the battles, Battlefront puts you right into the fold and the spectacle that one would expect of being in the middle of a heavy action battle of the Star Wars series. Even 11 years later and with a new DICE-developed entry in the Battlefront series incoming, the original Star Wars: Battlefront is the real deal and worthy of returning to its galaxy far, far away.

[SPC Says: B]

Thursday, April 9, 2015

All-Star Franchises, Underrated Entries - Part Three

If you've been around SuperPhillip Central for a little while (it's still okay if you haven't, so no harm done), then you know that I like talking about underrated and overlooked games. I've done various series on the subject. However, most of the time, the games mentioned in these articles are from wholly new or overlooked franchises themselves.

There are also a multitude of series that I can think of that have one, two, or a handful of games in it that aren't viewed as highly as the others, whether just or not.

These ideas are where the concept of All-Star Franchises, Underrated Entries comes from, and since part one and part two, I've come up with six more underrated entries to big-time franchises, some bigger than others.

Uncharted - Uncharted: Golden Abyss (Vita)

While it is indeed what I would consider the weakest of the current crop of Uncharted games, Uncharted: Golden Abyss is by no means an awful entry in Naughty Dog's Hollywood blockbuster-esque adventure franchise. This PlayStation Vita entry was developed by Sony Bend, and they successfully transferred the high octane, intense gunplay, treasure hunting, and soft climbing and platforming from the big screen to the Vita's much smaller screen. Aside from some needless touch-based mini-games like rubbing an artifact clean of dirt and solving a jigsaw puzzle-like map, pretty much everything that fans loved about the Uncharted series was present in this bite-sized handheld journey. Perhaps a lack of truly captivating set pieces was missing, but other than that, Nathan Drake's Via adventure was something enjoyable, for sure.

Metroid - Metroid: Other M (Wii)

This is probably the most controversial game on this list of all-star franchises with underrated entries. It's so much so that there is actual disdain from fans towards this game. It's the Wii's Metroid: Other M, a pet project led by series creator Yoshio Sakamoto. The gameplay of using the Wii Remote sideways to control series protagonist Samus Aran was met with divided opinions, as to enter first-person mode to shoot at objects and enemies directly required the player to aim the Wii Remote at the screen, something that took time to get used to. However, the greatest ire towards the game comes from the oftentimes inane story and portrayal of Samus Aran herself, which shows her as a much weaker character than what the Metroid series previously portrayed her as. However, if you can turn your brain off to the story and appreciate the gameplay, what you'll find is a highly competent, action-packed adventure that if not for the idiotic story would have many more fans.

Super Mario Bros. - Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES)

When I speak of Super Mario Bros. 2, there could be two games I am talking about. I could be referring to what it is known in the west as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, a much harder companion game to the original Super Mario Bros., using the same assets as that game. However, I am talking about Super Mario Bros. USA, as it is known in Japan. This game was a drastic departure from the original SMB, and that's because it wasn't a Mario game to begin with. Granted, if you follow gaming history closely, then knowing that Super Mario Bros. 2 in the west is actually a revised version of Japan's Doki Doki Panic is something that I can safely assume.

Regardless, Super Mario Bros. 2 featured Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool, and Toad running and jumping through 20 levels of Subcon wonderment. Instead of jumping on enemies to immediately eliminate them, Mario and the gang could pick most of them up over their heads and chuck them into other foes. Even veggies could be plucked up from the ground and used in an offensive capacity. Yes, kids, vegetables CAN be bad for you. Just don't tell your parents where you picked up that piece of information from. Anyway, Super Mario Bros. 2 would see a remade version with SNES graphics in Super Mario All-Stars, as well as a handheld port with the very first Super Mario Advance. It's safe to say, however, that the second game in the Super Mario Bros. series is the one that is the anomaly in the series.

Star Fox - Star Fox: Assault (GCN)

With a new Star Fox planning to have its first trailer premiered in a couple of months at E3 2015 and a release soon after, I felt it was a nice time to bring up one of two underrated entries in the Star Fox franchise. While Command is indeed underrated, I think Star Fox: Assault deserves more appreciation. After all, it didn't have what could be considered as horrid fanfic in it for a story. Assault may not have had split paths or as much replay value, but it did have ten adrenaline-pumping missions that took Fox McCloud in and out of his Arwing, offering some nice variety in the gameplay. For me, the on-foot controls worked well, even if the idea of the Star Fox team being out of their vehicles is a sacrilegious one to the more ardent fans of the series. The presentation was amazing, offering glorious orchestral arrangements of familiar Star Fox themes and all-new compositions. The multiplayer delivered fast and frenetic action across a myriad of maps, bringing to players plenty of sleepless nights staying up with friends to play it. Star Fox: Assault may not be the best in the series (64 takes that crown), but as it stands, it is a wonderful game regardless.

LittleBigPlanet - LittleBigPlanet PS Vita (Vita)

The LittleBigPlanet series is one of my favorite PlayStation franchises. If you can get beyond the floaty jumping, you will get a game series that is full of platforming fun and the ability to let your imagination and creativity run wild. LittleBigPlanet's jump to the PlayStation Vita introduced touch controls to interact with the environment, and it was done in such a clever and ingenious way that it didn't feel gimmicky or hokey at all. Tarsier Studios was the main developer this time around, and you could easily tell that they learned a lot from the original developer of the series, Media Molecule. The story levels were top quality stuff, while the mini-game levels used the Vita's technology in some really smart and enjoyable ways. Sadly, since the PlayStation Vita sells like itching powder to a guy with a rash, many missed out on what I consider one of the best games in the LBP series and one of the best titles on Sony's underserved and underrated portable device.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater - Tony Hawk's Underground 2 (PS2, GCN, XBX)

Activision struck gold with securing Tony Hawk and having developer Neversoft capitalize on the extreme sports craze of the late '90s and early '00s with a series of skateboarding games with Mr. Hawk's name and likeness attached to it. By Tony Hawk's Underground 2, many fans criticized the series for moving farther away from what made the original games so special and beloved-- pure skateboarding insanity. With the original Underground, the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series introduced the ability to get off the board and run around.

THUG 2 introduced a more Jackass show-styled skateboarding game, which occasionally took the skateboard away from the player. However, with an immense amount of tricks now open to the player thanks to all of the past games' added mechanics like reverts, spine transfers, manuals, and getting off one's board, THUG 2 felt like you had a huge repertoire of moves to perform some killer combos. Throw in a bunch of wacky and realistic objectives, entertaining levels to skate in, and you could easily get beyond the Bam Margera-focused story mode and find something great to love. That's at least why I find THUG 2 to be one of my favorites in the series along with THPS 1, 2, 3, and THUG.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Most Overlooked Wii U Games - Part Two

SuperPhillip Central has a lot of articles about overlooked games. I feel it's my civic duty as a gamer to put the spotlight on those titles that have fallen through the cracks in the marketplace. This second edition of Most Overlooked Wii U Games is one that isn't just about those retail and physical under-sellers, as it also features plenty of Wii U eShop games as well. Join me on my second journey through the land of the most overlooked Wii U games. If you missed Part One of my adventure, look no further than this link.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut

With the announcement of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided yesterday, it seems like a smart time to talk about our first overlooked Wii U game. Just because the Wii U won't be seeing Mankind Divided doesn't mean that its predecessor which IS available on Wii U isn't worth playing. Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut very much is worth playing, and that's not just because it's one of the few Wii U games that masterfully utilizes the GamePad in clever ways. There are a multitude of methods to use while playing Human Revolution. Whether you're a fan of stealthily maneuvering your way through the game's world to avoid detection or alternately popping caps in enemy rear ends, Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut is set up to work with any play style.

Wii Sports Club

It's safe to say that Nintendo somewhat botched the release of Wii Sports Club. It was originally released in multiple pieces digitally, with each sport being a separate download. There was the ability to try each sport for a 24 hour period, and then you could purchase a given sport for $10. However, I believe that this retail release should have been launched instead of the very complicated digital setup Nintendo went with. Hindsight is 20/20, though. Wii Sports Club has all five sports on a disc, featuring Wii MotionPlus for each sport and multiple modes. Unfortunately, at least in North America, even used copies of Wii Sports Club go well over the MSRP, so if you can find a relatively affordable copy, definitely jump on it and enjoy what the game has to offer.

Toki Tori 2+

A Metroid style puzzle game starring an immensely adorable baby chick, Toki Tori 2+ didn't set the Wii U eShop charts ablaze. Instead, it received a severely modest amount of downloads, especially when you consider the high quality and cleverness of the game. You have but a couple moves in your repertoire, tweeting and stomping, and the fun in this puzzle adventure game is using them to interact with the environments to figure out how to proceed further along. For example, tweeting as our lovable chick makes it so some platforms move towards you, allowing you the ability to cross what was once a chasm. These interactions with the world with just two abilities might sound like it's very limiting, but nothing could be further from the truth. Toki Tori 2+ is an ingenious puzzle game that very few Wii U owners took the time to play, much less download. It's a shame because the game is an incredibly clever adventure.

Spy Chameleon

This next Wii U eShop game is one that came out of nowhere to surprise me. Spy Chameleon has you playing as the titular character in an overhead perspective. You must avoid detection by walking around the sights of cameras and security drones. However, your movement capabilities aren't the only method of avoiding detection. As chameleons are known to do, you can walk onto one of four colored floors and press a button to camouflage, successfully allowing cameras and security bots to pass over you without raising the alarm. It's a combination of quick movement and swift changing of colors to camouflage that makes getting through the myriad of levels in Spy Chameleon a true blast. Considering the game is very inexpensive, more people need to download Spy Chameleon and get their inner chameleon who just also happens to be a spy on.

Scram Kitty and His Buddy on Rails

Definitely one an atypical action platformer, Scram Kitty and His Buddy on Rails has you rolling and zipping along rails to traverse the game's levels. Levels consist of moving along these rails that serve as a means to leap off of to access new rails, heights, and hidden sections of levels that would otherwise be inaccessible to the player. Rails stretch, curve, and take players all through levels as they search for and collect missing kitties in this fast-paced platformer. Scram Kitty is definitely unlike any game out there, and my description does the game zero justice. Instead, take a look at this trailer to experience the pure chaos that is the gameplay. While the game didn't sell marvelously, Scram Kitty received a second chance with a PlayStation Vita version of the game. Now more people can experience the manic madness that is Scram Kitty and His Buddy on Rails.

Monday, April 6, 2015

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - "Park Your Keister, It's the Day After Easter, Meister" Edition

Easter Sunday was yesterday, so it only makes sense to follow that up with a Monday edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs that features classic RPG and action-adventure games. Why does it make sense? Okay, you got me. It really doesn't. I was just looking for any excuse to bring out some nostalgia to SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs. This week's list of games starts big with Chrono Trigger, continues with Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest, moves on to Breath of Fire II, moves to the Sony side of the spectrum with Wild ARMs, and concludes with a heartfelt theme from Alundra. Let's get to the music!

v846. Chrono Trigger (SNES) - Frog's Theme

One of the more popular party members to join Chrono's cause in the Super Nintendo RPG classic Chrono Trigger is Frog. His theme has a majestic sound to it, as well as a Far Eastern flavor. It's the perfect song to get ready for an epic battle against enemies both small and large!

v847. Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest (SNES) - Town of Forest

Like you'll hear with the next VGM volume, Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest's Town of Forest gives a great sense of homeliness. It's a warm theme thanks to the warm synth that is played that invites you to stay in the safe boundaries of its town, chat with the locals, and upgrade your equipment.

v848. Breath of Fire II (SNES, GBA) - My Home Sweet Home

This theme is played in the majority of towns in Breath of Fire II. It says something to the longevity of My Home Sweet Home that you can hear it so much (and you will hear it so much in the game) and still never grow tired of it. It's a theme that brings a sense of home and comfort every time it is heard in the rough and dangerous world of Breath of Fire II.

v849. Wild ARMs (PS1) - Adlehyde Castle

Wild ARMs is one of my favorite RPG soundtracks of all time. It is in the same league as Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy Tactics, Star Ocean: The Second Story, and Xenogears to me. Part of that is the myriad of memorable themes and leitmotifs that come from the soundtrack, including this familiar theme from Adlehyde Castle. Michiko Naruke did a fantastic job with this soundtrack.

v850. Alundra (PS1) - The Shrine of the Lake

A heavily piano-centric piece from Alundra, essentially Sony's response to The Legend of Zelda series, The Shrine of the Lake is a beautiful, magical piece of music that evokes an emotional feeling with its motif and accompaniment. Almost makes you want to relive Alundra if you've already played it, doesn't it? Heck, I'm going to relive it now!