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Monday, April 30, 2012

Game Art #34: Mega Man Gallery

The Blue Bomber will be turning the big two-five when December rolls around. I have no idea what plans, if any Capcom has in store for Mega Man's 25th birthday, but no matter what, I will always be a Mega Man fan. Its way past time for another Game Art showcasing the numerous incarnations of everyone's favorite blue android, so enjoy.

By Vofan
Unknown Artist
Unknown Artist
Unknown Artist
Unknown Artist
Unknown Artist
Unknown Artist
By Yumo
By Yumo
Unknown Artist
Unknown Artist
By einlee
Unknown Artist
Unknown Artist
Unknown Artist
Unknown Artist
Unknown Artist
By Banpai Akira
By kajinman
By Rikyo
By herms85
By spaghetti016
By hyperboy
By Kaigetsudo
By jinguji
By FlintofMother3
By EiffelArt
By Crumbelievable
By Rikyo

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Waveform 3

I've been a fan of Joshua Morse' video game arrangements over the years. He's done splendid work on OverClocked Remix albums such as Mega Man: The Robot Museum, Heroes vs. Villains and 25YEARLEGEND among others. I haven't heard either of the previous two albums, but if Waveform 3 is any indication, I probably missed out on some fantastic compositions. Waveform 3 is a five track album consisting of totally original work. No video game remixes to be found here, but the music is so well done, I'm really not bothered by it. You get a heavy dose of chiptune awesomeness and after hearing the Pilotwings: Take Flight, I'm more convinced than ever that the world needs more chiptunes. Waveform 3 is a name-your-price download, so if you're a cheapskate (like me), you can download it for free. Or if you don't feel like downloading, you can listen to the whole album on the site linked below. Either way, you'll get to hear some awesome music.

Waveform 3

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Game Art #33: SEGA Gallery

Once one of the biggest names in the hardware business, SEGA went third party in early 2001, with the Dreamcast being the company's last console. While it's largely debatable that SEGA still isn't the company that it once was, they still manage to deliver the goods with games like Bayonetta, Madworld and Sonic Colors. I'd rather see them survive as a third party publisher than struggle and die out as a hardware manufacturer. Here's some fan art for some of SEGA's numerous franchises. Enjoy.

Unknown Artist
By thweatted
By fuzzball288
By theoriginalmistajonz
By BezerroBizarro
By HitoshiAriga
By kichigai
By jazaaboo
By inano2009
Unknown Artist
Unknown Artist
By Kurosawa
By cuboon

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pilotwings: Take Flight

Ah, Pilotwings. It's what has been known as the hardware showoff series for a number of Nintendo consoles. As if being an enjoyable arcade style flight simulator wasn't good enough, the Pilotwings games also have some excellent pieces of music that I feel get overlooked. We're long overdue for a Pilotwings arrange album so Pilotwings: Take Flight couldn't have come at a better time.

Released on April 25, 2012 Pilotwings: Take Flight is OverClocked Remix's 34th album release. Unlike the previous albums, this one is on the short side, spanning a mere seven tracks. But as Nintendo said in the days of the Nintendo 64, quality over quantity. This baby may not be lengthy (total run time is only 22 minutes and 40 seconds) but it is very high on quality. Taking songs from all three Pilotwings titles, the music is heavy on the chiptunes but still sounds faithful to the source material. The Birdman Cometh, a remix of Birdman from Pilotwings 64, sounds just as jazzy as the original track and I'm very pleased that my favorite song from that game got remix love here.

Its great to see this Nintendo franchise get some much needed audio appreciation. Pilotwings Take Flight is another fine effort from OverClocked Remix. Highly recommended.

Pilotwings: Take Flight

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dragon Ball Z Season Four

Finished watching Funimation's "orange brick" as the fandom likes to call it of Dragon Ball Z Season Four. It did not disappoint. This release contains 32 episodes on six discs. Sagas included here are the Garlic Jr., Trunks and Android Sagas. Season four is one of my favorite seasons of DBZ and it's great to have it all in one box set. However, it isn't without fault.

Let me get the bad out of the way first. It's no secret that the first anime version of DBZ was stretched out to absurdly long length. The Z portion of the manga series was originally 26 graphic novels. So how does a series spanning 26 books get turned into a 291 episode series? Padding and filler. Lots of filler. Now I'm actually one of those guys that doesn't mind filler when it's good and DBZ does have some good filler. This season set actually has one of my all-time favorite filler episodes, which I'll get to in a moment. But DBZ also has bad filler and in my mind, the king of bad filler in DBZ is none other than the Garlic Jr. Saga, the only fault of this season set as far as quality episodes go. Consisting of 10 episodes, the Garlic Jr. Saga sees the return of Garlic Jr., a villain from the Dead Zone movie/TV special. So yes, he's a filler character, but like I said, I don't mind filler as long as it's good but Garlic Jr. is crap. Not only is he awful, so are his forgettable band of thugs known as the Spice Boys. Garlic Jr. is the only foe in this series that gained his wish of immortality from the Dragon Balls so no matter how hard the heroes hit him, he just won't die. They can, however, send him into a void, which is what they did in the Dead Zone movie, from what I hear. Yes, I never did see that movie, but if this 10 episode saga is any indication, I'm not sure I want to.

An attack this awesome is merely to distract
Freeza from...
This. The "Oh crap!" look on Freeza's face before
Trunks slices him in half is PRICELESS.

One of the few good bits from Garlic Jr. is Chi-Chi getting so angry at Maron's insults that it looks like she learned Goku's Kaio-Ken attack. Who's Maron? Another filler character that's Krillin's first girlfriend for the anime. Maron has the looks of super model and the intelligence of a brick.  In episode 117 (episode 10) of the Garlic Jr. Saga, Krillin question's proposing to her, but in feeling that she's way out of his league, he breaks up with her. It was some nice character development for Krillin as he's always wanted a girlfriend but deep down, he probably knew how shallow she was and that she wasn't the girl for him, something Master Roshi states later on in this season. The final episode in the Garlic Jr. Saga ended up being the only one I really liked as I just couldn't get into the Z Fighters struggle against such lame villains.

Now concerning the rest of this season four set, it's awesome. We see the arrival of Future Trunks, my favorite version of the character and the Androids, a fantastic bunch of not quite villains but not quite heroes either. Let's go back to Future Trunks. Goku still hasn't come back to Earth yet and a year and a half has passed since Freeza was killed. Or was he? Freeza somehow managed to survive an epic beat down by Goku and having a planet blow up in his face. The most powerful force in the universe is now a cyborg and as a result, he's much stronger than he was before. As payback for such a humiliating defeat, Freeza is headed to earth with daddy, King Cold, in tow and plans to make the Saiyan pay by wiping out all live on Earth. As the Z Fighters prepare to make a hopeless last stand, a mysterious youth appears of nowhere and says he's going to kill Freeza. Said mysterious youth is of course, Future Trunks. Freeza, unimpressed, blows him off but when he transforms into a Super Saiyan, he starts freaking out. Future Trunks effortlessly knocks back everything Freeza throws at him and finally finishes him off by slice him in half. King Cold doesn't fare any better and he's quickly disposed off. In a series where such spectacular displays of power happen so many times, Future Trunks killing Freeza and King Cold with ease is still a sight to behold. We don't get to see Future Trunks look this awesome in battle again until the last episode of season six.

Vegeta puts up a good fight against Android 18.
But in the end, even his Super Saiyan powers
aren't enough to win this fight.

As the old saying goes, out of the frying pan and into the fire. The deaths of Freeza and King Cold only temporarily leave the world at peace. Future Trunks arrived to warn Goku and company about a pair of Androids that have made the future world a bleak existence. How bad is the world Future Trunks comes from? Well all the Z Fighters are dead, killed by the Androids and Goku met his end by a heart virus months before the Androids even appeared. Trunks is the only one left to fight and even that's a struggle due to the overwhelming strength of the Andorids. With the knowledge of where and when the Androids will arrive as well as an antidote for Goku's heart disease, Future Trunks traveled to the past in hopes to prevent history from repeating itself. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen reasons, events unfold radically different from what Trunks knew. Goku's heart virus didn't strike him until he was in the middle of a battle with Android 19 and it turns out that the Androids that the Z Fighters were fighting, were not the Androids Trunks spoke of. To complicate things even further, when the heroes do face the Androids Trunks was talking about, Androids 17 and 18, not only is there an additional metal man in the form of Android 16, 17 and 18 are much stronger than the 17 and 18 from Trunks' timeline. This greatly mystifies Trunks and the other Z Fighters. In the Dragon Ball world, even if one does not directly interfere with the timeline, things can still be altered. In other words, merely traveling to the past can alter how events in that timeline play out. Trying to change the past, however, will not change the future. Despite everything Trunks does, we find out that Goku and the other Z Fighters will still be dead when he returns to his own time.

As I said earlier, one of my favorite filler episodes in this season is Goku's Ordeal, the last episode in the Trunks Saga. This episode is about Goku and Piccolo trying to get their driver's license. As you can probably guess, much hilarity ensues. The humor in this episode is very reminiscent of that found in the original Dragon Ball. It made me laugh out loud when it saw it years ago and it still does today.

Piccolo curb stomping Android 20.
Krillin getting a smooch from his future wife.

The fights in this set are actually pretty brief. Vegeta makes short work of Android 19, showing of his new Super Saiyan abilities. Piccolo pays back Android 20 for stealing some of his energy in a nice curb stomp battle. Vegeta puts up a good fight against Android 18 but in the end, he's no much for her, but then, none of the Z Fighters are a match for 17 and 18 as they are quickly tossed aside with little to no effort.

Some nice breaks from the fighting involve episodes where the Z Fighters are assessing their options. Piccolo makes the difficult decision to fuse with Kami, the god of Earth to become the single Namekian he once was. Kami, however, feels that there's a greater threat walking the Earth than the Androids Piccolo and company just got their insides kicking out by. Krillin and the remaining fighters decide to move the ailing Goku to Master Roshi's place to keep him safe from the approaching Androids. While all this is happening, Trunks tries to sort out just why things are panning out the way they are. Things get even more complicated when Bulma faxes them a photo of a second time machine that appears aged with tons of moss sticking to it. Looks like Trunks was not the only time traveler.

I could make the obvious bad pun here, but I'll pass.
This fight starts off well, but Goku's heart virus
picks the wrong time to show up.

The fourth season of Funimation's orange bricks, this sports wide screen format from the original full screen presentation. If you can't handle that, you may want to pass on this one. It also has the infamous blurred line that appears during some rumbling and flashing scenes. Doesn't happen often but when it does, it sticks out like a sore thumb. You can watch with the Japanese score with the Japanese dialogue subtitled, though it isn't the best audio quality. There's also the option to view it with English voices and the Japanese soundtrack or with English voices and the American score. Some very nice options to have.

All told, Funimation's Dragon Ball Z Season Four is one of my favorite season sets. Once you get past the Garlic Jr. Saga, you're in for a terrific thrill ride. You get some awesome fights that don't drag on and the season ends with an intriguing mystery. This set can be bought for chump change either online or in stores. If you don't mind the wide screen format, this is an exceptional way to view some awesome DBZ sagas.