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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Favorite Tunes #206: Trouble Maker

The Switch continues to kill it and EA still sucks. How's that for a topical opener? Anyway, this week, there is music from the Classic Mega Man series, Gunstar Heroes, Tekken 7 as well as SEGA's classic racing game, OutRun.

Tengu Man Stage - Mega Man 8 (PS)

With Mega Man 11 having been announced (squeee!!!) it is only fitting that I post a tune from the Mega Man series this week. While I do prefer Tengu Man's more series Saturn exclusive theme, I still get a kick out of his more cheerful PlayStation track. Tengu Man is such a smug punk that it makes beating him all the more satisfying.

Don't Slip! - Splatoon 2 (NS)

Even taking into account that the first Splatoon released on the Wii U, a console that was a huge bomb, the game did extremely well, becoming Nintendo's most recognized new IP in recent years. So of course they had a sequel in the works for the Switch. Splatoon 2 has gotten some criticism for feeling too samey but if sales are any indication, I don't think too many people mind this. Like the original Splatoon, the music for Splatoon 2 is very much on point.

I'm Here Now 7's Remix - Tekken 7 (PC, PS4, XBO)

I wouldn't call Tekken 7 may favorite soundtrack of the series, but there are some really good tracks in there. I'm Here Now was one the many good songs in Tekken 5. That intro for said game had Kazuya and Heihachi fighting off an army of Jacks. Tekken 7 let's you play out that fight with this bumping remix as your background fight jam.

Dancing Smash Hero - Gunstar Heroes (GEN)

Gunstar Heroes on the Genesis just might be the best run 'n gun game ever. It's sprites and backgrounds still look marvelous to this day, it has sweet (if broken) weapon combos and the soundtrack is some of the best music on the Mega Drive and gaming in general. If anyone says Genesis music can't hack it, point them in the direction of Gunstar Heroes soundtrack.

Magical Sound Shower (Arrange Ver.) - OutRun SEGA AGES (SS)

The Saturn version of OutRun is one of the best available. It contains a hidden option to make it run at a smooth 60 fps and has some killer arranged music in addition to the outstanding original beats. Well, at leastthe Japanese version of the game does. For some strange reason, gamers outside of the Land of the Rising sun got the middle finger when it came to these songs.

Trouble Maker - Mischief Makers (N64)

Oh, Treasure. Only you could make a game with an adorable, anime-esque protagonist who's claim to fame consists of "SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE!!!" Mischief Makers probably isn't the first game to come to mind when one thinks of games by Treasure. It is overshadowed by Gunstar Heroes and Sin and Punishment but it still has a cult following. This is one of those games that could use a re-release.

Favorite Tunes Database

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The EA/Battlefront II Debacle is Glorious

So how about the disaster that is EA and Star Wars: Battlefront II? Hoo boy, I tell ya, watching EA get blasted by gamers, the gaming media, the non gaming media and YouTubers is like watching a never ending train wreck. And I'm loving every minute of it. I've always believed that there is a sadist in all of us, and while some may think it bad to delight in the suffering of others, in the case of EA, it couldn't have happened to a better worse company.

EA is the cancer of the video game industry. They buy up game developers, really talented ones, spread through the company like said disease and then kill them off. Visceral Games was their latest victim but before that it was Maxis, Westwood Studios, the list goes on and on. It wasn't until the demise of Visceral Games that I realized just how many game developers EA has destroyed. Any game developer that EA sinks their talons into is living on borrowed time.

Nintendo makes lots of bone head decisions. Years after the competition has figured out how to have online gaming networks, the Big N is still floundering about. Their treatment of fans, YouTubers playing their games is deplorable and they kill off fangames, even ones that aren't remakes faster than a falling brick. However, even at their worst, Nintendo and many other game companies for that matter, are nowhere near as bad as EA. Nintendo is out to make money like any other game company but what puts them so far ahead of trash like EA is that Nintendo actually cares about delivering a quality product. EA only cares about the bottom line. They are a company that is solely motivated by greed and that business model has bitten them hard on both butt cheeks.

Disney's chat with EA probably had something to do with the fact that Star Wars Episode VIII releases this month, and having the latest Star Wars game have bullocks like loot boxes mucking up the experience certainly isn't a good look. It was enough to make EA shut off the microtransactions, temporarily, at least. But it isn't just Disney and gamers that are peeved with EA. The money grubbing company has goofed up so bad with Battlefront II that they've attracted the attention of government officials with Chris Lee calling the game "an online casino designed to trap little kids." There's also the little matter of EA losing $3 billion stock value over this whole fiasco. EA shareholders are probably up in arms while the rest of us are sitting back in our chairs, petting our cats, laughing manically.

Normally I don't root for the downfall of a video game company. I wish for them to change, to do better. EA, however, is not going to change. They are more interested in finding ways to make the most money the fastest way possible. The idea of releasing a well made product is a foreign concept to this company. Even after Battlefront II exploded in their faces, EA still went about with microtransactions in Ultimate Fighting Championship 3 and Need for Speed: Payback. I don't think a single tear would be shed if EA were to go under. For far too long EA has gotten away with murder and crummy business practices. This domino effect that Battlefront II has started is some well deserved comeuppance.

I'm sure this whole thing with EA being put on blast and losing money will blow over. Until there, get yourself some popcorn and pull up a chair because as they kids say "Dis gonna be good!"

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Mega Man 11 is Happening

I got home from work, jumped on my laptop and went straight to YouTube. The one thing I did not expect to see as recommended video coming from Nintendo's channel was an announcement trail for of all games, MEGA MAN 11. For a brief moment, I thought this was some kind of sick joke, an April Fools prank. I quickly remembered that it is in early December, clicked the video and watch with my mouth and eyes wide open. Hell has indeed froze over because Capcom is finally giving Mega Man a new game.

Mega Man 11 won't release until late 2018 on all platforms but the reveal trailer does divulge quite a bit of info. Mega Man can slide! The Charge Shot is back! It is so dang nice to see Mega Man regain two of his lost abilities. I really like Mega Man 2 but the lengths Mega Man 9 went to hump the former game's leg was really obnoxious. It is for this reason that I prefer Mega Man 10 over 9.

Another thing I really, really like is that Mega Man 11 is not an 8-bit NES style game. I love the look of 8-bit Mega Man but I don't believe Classic Mega Man should stay there. So many games are going with the retro look that it is getting to be overkill. 2D games are great but so are 2.5D games. Besides, from what little footage is available, I think Mega Man 11 looks pretty clean.

As exciting as this news is, there is of course bound to be some negativity. What I've seen is on the smile side, but it is there, nonetheless. Some fans are disappointed that Mega Man 11 is not going to be an 8-bit game. I've seen some joke that there's plenty of time for the game to be canceled. Then you've got people saying that the game looks like trash. I think seven years without a Mega Man game has made some fans very pessimistic. At the same time, this is Capcom we're talking about here so I can see how some fans would be concerned for Mega Man 11. On the flip side, a brand new Mega Man game is the very thing fans have been clamoring for for years. Capcom is giving us what we wanted and you've still got some folks that find away to be sour on it. Only the bitterest of Mega Man fans could find a way to piss and moan about this huge reveal.

Mega Man 11 is still a ways off so there is plenty of time to iron out wrinkles. The Blue Bomber's walking animation does look stiff. Personally, I think the game looks fine from what we've seen thus far, but if Capcom makes the game look even better, I'm all for that as long as it plays well and runs smooth. 2017 is almost over but that just means there is still some time left in the year for surprises. The announcement of Mega Man 11 was certainly one of them.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Favorite Tunes #205: Chillest Game Over Music Ever

I decided to hold off on all blog posts last week due to the Thanksgiving weekend. I hope it was full of good fun and lots of good eats for you all. Now that the holiday is over, regular posting has resumed.

Major Boss Battle - Freedom Planet (PC, Wii U, PS4)

Before Sonic Mania, you had Sonic fans championing Freedom Planet as the best Sonic game that Sonic Team didn't make. There are cues from Sonic games, but Freedom Planet is very much it's own animal. If you haven't done so, check this game out and get the soundtrack while you're at it.

Blossom Haze (Press Garden Act 2) - Sonic Mania (PC, PS4, XBO, NS)

I'm one of those strange fellows that loves the Act 1 version of Press Garden over Act 2. That being said, the Act 2 version is still pretty dang magnificent. Props to the  developers for making an ice level that isn't irksome to play.

Honeyluna Ridge (Caves) - Super Mario Odyssey (NS)

It just wouldn't feel right not having a lava themed level leading up to the confrontation to Bowser. Bowser's Kingdom was not what most were expecting but in a very, very good way. On the Moon, however, is a standard lava filled section, complete with one of the most annoying Super Mario enemies, Charin' Chuck. It also comes with one of my favorite music in the game. I often have this theme playing for intense sections during post-gameplays.

Chozo Laboratory - Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS)

It has been an outstandingly good year for Nintendo. The Switch is killing it, they launched a new IP in the form of ARMS, the Zelda and Super Mario series both had major entries and Samus Aran stepped into the spotlight once again. For a series so many say Nintendo doesn't care about, the Big N gave the girl five star treatment with Samus Returns, the reimagining of Metroid II: Return of Samus.

Area 5 - Bionic Commando (NES)

The most famous theme from Bionic Commando is Area 1, which actually comes from the arcade version of Bionic Commando, a game that is completely different from the NES releease. If you've never made it past the first few areas, you might not have heard the rest of the soundtrack which is to say, really freaking awesome stuff.

Game Over, Name Entry - Altered Beast (ARC)

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the chillest of all game over music. Call me crazy, but I don't always find it off-putting when a music track plays during a time that may not match the situation. One reason for Altered Beast's Game Over theme being so chill is because it also serves as Name Entry music.

Favorite Tunes Database

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Remix of the Week: Ghost Town (Sonic Forces)

The Genesis style music in Sonic Forces has gotten a bad rap. Granted, the Green Hill theme for Classic Sonic uses some absolutely terrible instrumentation, but writing off all of Classic Sonic's stage themes as awful? That is something I cannot get behind. Of all of Classic Sonic's music in Forces, my favorite would have to be Ghost Town, a super peppy beat. Lil Boulder's remix is worth a listen several times over.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Rhythm Raceway

2017 is a the year for many milestone anniversaries. Double Dragon, Final Fantasy, Mega Man, and Contra all turned or are going to turn 30 this year. The Mario Kart franchise isn't at the big 3-0 yet, however, it is now twenty five years old. I don't know if the arrival of the Pixel Mixers' latest album is a coincidence or not, but regardless, Rhythm Raceway is a magnificent tribute to the most famous kart racing series.

Spanning 23 tracks, Rhythm Raceway collects arrangements from just about every Mario Kart entry. The only games not represented are the arcade titles and Mario Kart 7. I would have loved to see the Pixel Mixers do a cover for Rock Rock Mountain and Bowser's Castle, but those are nitpicks more than anything. It's hard to argue with what they did give us from expected remixes to the unexpected. I never knew I wanted Frappe Snowland (Mario Kart 64) to have a rock arrangement until I heard it here. Twisted Mansion (Mario Kart 8) wasn't a bad song by any means, but it was one that I never cared for. The Pixel Mixers' interpretation of it, however, is something that I can't get enough. There's also a killer heavy metal version of Rainbow Road (Mario Kart: Double Dash!!) as well as a super chill cover of Toad's Turnpike (Mario Kart 64). I've always loved the Setup music from Mario Kart 64, despite how repetitive it can be so I'm glad it got so much needed appreciation in this album as well as Retire Theme (Mario Kart: Double Dash!!)

Like every single album by the Pixel Mixers, Rhythm Raceway is free. You get 23 splendid Mario Kart remixes, adding up to over an hour's worth of music. I cannot wait to see what game or game series these guys tackle next. Do download this alum right now.

Rhythm Raceway 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Sonic Mania Remixed

What can I say that hasn't already been said about the music of Sonic Mania? It is an amazing, catchy, outstanding soundtrack filled with killer remixes and original tunes. Tee Lopes has catapulted himself right up there with other Sonic music legends like Jun Senoue and Tomoya Ohtani thanks to his work on Sonic Mania's soundtrack. When I'd heard about this Sonic Mania Remixed alum some time ago, I was thrilled. I couldn't wait to hear arrangements of Press Garden and Mirage Saloon. Unfortunately, Sonic Mania Remixed is far from being anywhere near the quality of Sonic Mania.

This 11 track digital album covers six of the new themes from Sonic Mania with the other five tracks being based off of the reused music. Of the eleven tracks on Sonic Mania Remixed, I really only enjoyed two themes, the remixes of Studiopolis Zone and Metallic Madness Zone. I happen to like OverClocked Remixes albums quite a bit and Sonic Mania Remixed definitely sounds OCR-ish but this album just didn't really do anything for me. As much as I was expected to snap my fingers, bob my head and tap my toes, I was left in disbelief at how underwhelming Sonic Mania Remixed turned out to be.

I mentioned this album in a Sonic thread at one of the forums I frequent and one of the posters had this to say. "So basically just about every song was run through a 'generic 2010's EDM, let's drop the bass' filter" and that might be the best way to sum up Sonic Mania Remixed. I've heard worse, but I've certainly heard far better. There's some really good talent behind this alum, too, like Ben Briggs and A_Rival. Funny enough, those two are behind the only two songs I liked.

Perhaps my disliking of Sonic Mania Remixed is another one of my unpopular opinions. Heck, I like Sonic Forces, a game that many say is a steaming pile. You don't have to take my word on Sonic Mania Remixed.  You can give it a listen for yourself and see if it's worth your $10. Personally, as much as I wanted it to be, Sonic Mania Remixed is not my bag.

Sonic Mania Remixed