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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Favorite Tunes #97: Getting Hyped for Super Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. released on the 3DS in Japan on September 13. The game will release in America on October 3. Gamers fortunate enough to have gold/platinum status as Club Nintendo members were e-mailed demo codes with unlimited use with Nintendo occasional handing out demo codes before the public demo release on October 19. I'm as stoked for this game as the next guy and to get even more jazzed, Favorite Tunes is Smash Bros. centric.

Note: Not every song featured here is in Super Smash Bros.

Yoshi Star Galaxy - Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

Leading us off is Mr. Video Game himself. The debate rages on whether Super Mario Galaxy 2 is superior than the original. I tend to prefer the first game more, but there's no denying that both titles are superb. Outside of a cameo appearance with his face making up a small planet, Yoshi was MIA in the first Super Mario Galaxy. This travesty was rectified in Super Mario Galaxy 2, with everyone's favorite everything-eating green dino making regular appearances. Koji Kondo stepped back and let Mahito Yokota handle most of the compositions for Galaxy 2 as he did in the original game, only writing a handful of songs. One such track was Yoshi Star Galaxy, a jazzy, tropical, upbeat piece of tunage.

Aquatic Ruin Zone - Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (GEN)

Lots of gamers toute this as the greatest Sonic game. It's not a statement I can personally really behind, but Sonic 2 is still a fantastic hedgehog game, regardless. As the title implies, Aquatic Ruin is home to Sonic's kryptonite, H2O. The nice thing about the way this zone is structure, however, is that the water can be bypassed. You can stay on the top path, which keeps our heroes high and dry or take the lower route, leading to wet depths.

Dr. Cossack Stage 2 - Mega Man 4 (NES)

So many gamers say the Mega Buster was a crutch that made Mega Man too powerful. And yet no one complains about the brokeness of the Metal Blades. Meh, whatever. Mega Man 4 has always been one of my favorites. It was the first time Wily tried to blame others for his crimes and it was the introduction to one of my favorite supporting cast members, Dr. Cossack, who got a super awesome theme for his third and fourth levels.

Tilte Screen - Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures (PS3, 360, Wii U, 3DS)

Mario, Mega Man, Sonic and now Pac-Man in the same game? Talk about history being made. Of the four video game legends that make up red, blue and yellow, Pac-Man is the oldest of the bunch, and is Mario creator, Shigeru Miyamoto's favorite video game character. This theme is actually a remix from the arcade game Pacmania, which, intrestingly enough has been arranged and will be one of Pac-Man's musical themes for Super Smash Bros.

Mute City - Super Smash Bros. (3DS, Wii U)

The announcement that Captain Falcon was returning for the fourth entry of Smash was indeed a welcome one. He was one of the original Smashers but given Nintendo's current stance on the F-Zero series, so fans were a little worried that the days of throwing Falcon Punches were long gone. Nope. The Captain is back and with a kickin' new Mute City remix. It's already become one of my favorite arrangements for Smash 4, done by Kenji Ito, known for his glorious work on the Square Enix's SaGa series. YES!

Spark Man Stage - Super Smash Bros. (3DS, Wii U)

With all the nut hugging Mega Man 2 got in Smash, what with that freaking Wily Castle stage and the music, I was pleased to see that someone remembered that there were other games outside of the second NES game. Spark Man has always had what I believe to be the pinnacle of the electric based stage level music in the entire Classic series. I was really hoping this theme would get some love for Smash 4.

Favorite Tunes Database

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Currently Playing #21: Kirby Triple Deluxe

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (All-Stars ver.)

Also known as the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2. Also know as sheer torture. Having typed that last one out, you may be wondering, "Why are you playing this game?" I'm working on a special Mario feature for this blog that I've had spinning around in my dome for some time now. Much to my deep regret, completing this feature requires me to play what is without question the only game in the Super Mario series that I utterly despise. I'm playing the Wii's Super Mario All-Stars enhanced port because being able to save on every single level is a gift from God in the cruel an unjust world that is Lost Levels.

I can appreciate Luigi's superior jumping skills in this game but I don't feel like dealing with his sub-par traction, which would only make the game even more difficult than it already is. Thus, I've decided to make this painful journey as the older brother, Mario. I've also decided to use a guide for this play through as I've had more than enough of this game screwing me over in the past. In World 3-1, I went down a pipe that I thought was taking to a bonus room. It did, but it was home to a Bill Blaster. which didn't bode well for me. Sure enough it took me to one of those dreaded backwards Warp Zones. Since I had no desire to play through two worlds I had already conquered, I used the conveniently placed pit to kill myself. Cripes, I hate this game. I hate this game, I hate this game, I HATE. THIS. GAME!!! Never have I uttered that phrase so many times in all the years I've been gaming. Just the thought of sitting down to play this one makes me let out frustrated sighs.

Kirby Triple Deluxe (3DS)

I've decided to start this game and finish it up before the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. releases in about two weeks. Kirby had some of his best outings on the DS and his two Wii adventures are among my favorite Kirby titles. Triple Deluxe  is enjoyable but not on the same level as previous Kirby outings. I dig a lot of the new power ups like Beetle and Bell Kirby and the Hypernova inhale power is nice but even with the 3D effects and everything else it has going for it, Triple Deluxe just doesn't feel on par with Return to Dream Land. No, I didn't come in looking for this baby to surpass my all-time favorite Kirby game, but I'm still more than a little disappointed with this game after three worlds in.

Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)

I've gotten 100% completion of every world except World Crown. My aim is to get 100% completion of this game and I'm well aware of what doing that means. The biggest hurdle to jump over is more than likely going to be Champion's Road, by none, the hardest level in the game. I've played a good chunk of it with my nieces and newphews and some of it solo. I'd have to be crazy to try and tackle this stage without power-ups. The farthest I've gotten is to the long climb with the piranha plants, which just screams of needing a Cat Suit.

The last Mystery House isn't a cake walk either. So far, I've managed to get 12 Green Stars with Luigi. The 13th one, where you have to use a giant shoot to skate past enemies that like to block your way has been giving me trouble. Champion's Road with every character is tough enough but grabbing 30 Green Stars with everyone? Super Mario 3D World may very well be one of the most difficult games in the series to finish 100%.

Also Playing: Mario Kart 8, Shovel Knight

Game Art #70: Super Smash Bros. Gallery

With Super Smash Bros. hitting the 3DS on October 3 and the game having already spread like wildfire with it's Japanese release on September 13, I'd say its high time we once again represent some fan art of one of gaming's most beloved cross over series, Super Smash Bros.

By mivion
By Koineko
Pixiv ID
By Korokoro
By Cosmos
Pixiv ID
Pixiv ID
By xeternalflamebryx
By xeternalflamebryx
By Juliana Chen
By Juliana Chen

By Juliana Chen
By Juliana Chen
By Juliana Chen
By ss2sonic
By ss2sonic
By Nagi
By youmask
By Tom Brown
Pixiv ID
Pixiv ID
By Yukichiko
Pixiv ID
Pixiv ID
By bone
Pixiv ID
By Mirin.
Pixiv ID
Pixiv ID
By Nagisa
By Aura
By SmashToons

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Favorite Tunes #96: Wario Time

I've been listening to the music from Wario Land: Shake It! a lot lately so this is going to be one of those times where a single game occupies each and every track selected here on Favorite Tunes. If you haven't played Wario Land: Shake It! you really should. It's a pretty sweet 2D Wario game made by Good Feel, the same company responsible for Kirby's Epic Yarn.

Whoopsy Desert - Wario Land: Shake It! (Wii)

Just about every platformer has to have a token desert level. Shake It! is no exception and you encounter this one pretty early on in your adventure. The music has a very Egyptian feel to it, but just when you think it's going to sound like all sand and mummies, that guitar starts up at 54 seconds in. There's also plenty of flute thrown in for good measure. Raiding tombs has never sounded so good.

Just Plains - Wario Land: Shake It! (Wii)

This track. This track right here, may very well be my favorite track in the game and since the whole soundtrack is some of the best stuff Tomoya Tomita hs ever composed, that's saying quite a bit. It reminds of of a sunny summer day out on the town. I guess I'm missing summer already.

Stonetooth Cave - Wario Land: Shake It! (Wii)

It probably isn't the ideal music one thinks of when entering a cave, but when you hear those guitar riffs and those drums, you'll forget all about the supposed "natural order" of music and settings.

Its all-Mine - Wario Land: Shake It! (Wii)

You'll have to forgive me for being so unoriginal here but screw it. That guitar. That guitar, that guitar, THAT GUITAR! The thing has been awesome across the board on this whole soundtrack but this track may feature the best use of the instrument yet! I cannot being to tell you how many times I've listened to this song on repeat. Such a good slow jam.

Neon City - Wario Land: Shake It! (Wii)

Rock, funk and now jazz? This soundtrack has it all! Jazz music is generally associated with casino-like places and areas with lots of bright lights so it's not too surprise that that was the choice of music for this level.

Creep Blue Sea - Wario Land: Shake It! (Wii)

There's nothing quite like peaceful, soothing ocean music as you obliterate your enemies with torpedoes from your submarine. This may be the one area in the game where the motion controls can take some getting used to . You'll frequently have to tilt the direction of your sub to shoot down the baddies. This is also an auto scrolling level.

Favorite Tunes Database

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Thoughts on the New 3DS Models

Do people still express much in the way of emotion when Nintendo announces an upgrade to their handhelds? I mean, this isn't anything new. They've been doing it since the Game Boy days. When news reached me that Nintendo had announced the New Nintendo 3DS, they only thing I could do was laugh. I was not the least bit surprised by this reveal, even though I was considering buying a 3DS XL, which I may still end up doing somewhere down the road. It may sound rude, but some of my laughter was directed towards those that had picked up the 3DS XL, thinking they had the best version of the 3DS. I can imagine the rage some of these owners were feeling. Nintendo had already stated that they wanted to forgo multiple releases of the 3DS as they did with the original Nintendo DS. But as we can already see with the 3DS XL and 2DS, they aren't exactly doing a bang up job. When I did some more reading on these New 3DS models, I found that there wasn't a whole lot to laugh about.

Cosmetically speaking, I think the design of these New 3DS Models is quite rad. The A, B, X and Y buttons are each mapped to distinct colors, which is obviously a homage to the Japanese SNES counterpart, the Super Famicom controller. Anything that gives a shout out to my favorite video game console of all-time is aces in my book. On the right side of the touch screen is a second analog stick of sorts, something Nintendo was criticized heavily for not including on the original 3DS and 3DS XL models. Nintendo tried to address this with the Circle Pad Pro add on, but most people didn't wish to physically add more to the system, myself included.

Another visual reminder of the SNES? Yes, please!

But a second circle pad and flashy face buttons aren't the only things these new kids are packing. The CPUs on these babies are more powerful than any of the current models, superior 3D viewing angels, additional shoulder buttons similar to those on Nintendo's first Wii Classic Controller, built in Amiibo scanners for your Amiibo figures (because you KNOW you're buying those things), Micro SDs instead of SDs, the best battery life yet, lasting up to seven hours and even a  replaceable battery. This sounds like much more than a mere upgrade, almost a whole new handheld. All of a sudden that 3DS XL ain't sounding too hot.

So yeah, this thing is miles ahead of any 3DS unit available and the increased power has brought some gamers fears to life. Xenoblade Chronicles will only be playable on these New 3DS systems and you can bet that won't be the only 3DS game that gets hit with that treatment. That's enough to have anyone seething.

It reminds one of the N64 days. Remember the expansion pak? The thing added more RAM to the N64's memory to enable games like Perfect Dark, Donkey Kong 64 and the Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask to be playable on the system. Whereas the expansion pak was an add on and not quite as costly as a game, these New 3DS's are no such thing. These are full blown systems and gamers should not have to cough up an absurd amount of cash just to play some 3DS games that should have been playable on hardware they already owned.

I think the most gamers seeing red are those that were trying to be smart and wait for the ultimate 3DS to come along. No doubt there are those that picked up a 3DS XL not too long ago and then read this news. Its like being kicked in the face with a pair of cleats. That stings bad enough but what this New 3Ds means is that unless you own it, you are essentially locked out of the entire 3DS library. As I said, I highly doubt Xenoblade Chronicles will be the only 3DS game to be made exclusively for the New 3DS. More games will follow and if you want to play them, the system upgrade won't be optional this time.

Wanna play Xenoblade Chronicles on the go?
Better be prepared to fork over some serious cash.

Still, it isn't all dark and cloudy. When you take a good look at it, the New 3DS units are exactly what gamers have wanted from Nintendo: more powerful hardware. But this thing is still a double edged sword for The Big N. While the hardcore gamer has their ducks in a row and is knowledgeable on the differences between the Wii the Wii U and different 3DS models out there, little Billy's mom isn't so savvy. Nintendo can plaster "Only Playable on New 3DS" on those boxes all they want. Such words will be lost on the casual consumer and will no doubt cause endless confusion, the very type Nintendo expressed desire to avoid by not releasing a plethora of 3DS models. And yet, here we are.

As much as fans adore Nintendo, they still catch a ton of heat from former fans that feel they've abandoned them and those that hate them for petty reasons. Nintendo just gave these gamers more ammo for their saw-doff shotguns. Things are certainly gonna be interesting to say the least.