Search This Blog

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Let's Look at Some Game Commercials Part 2

Having a look at game commercials was so much fun that I've decided to post Part 2 much sooner than expected. Here's more gaming commercials from the gaming eras gone by and some more recent. If you missed part one, you can view it here.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games

Mario and Sonic were fierce rivals in the 16-bit days but when SEGA left the hardware business, Nintendo welcomed their formal rival with open arms with SEGA showing support for each Nintendo machine the company has released since the GameCube. Seeing Mario and Sonic star in a game together got a lot of people excited. Unfortunately, it wasn't a grandiose platform adventure, but a series of Olympic games. In these ads for the game that started the series, Mario and Sonic's rivalry gets started up again as the two constantly try to one-up each other during TV interviews. This collection of commercials shows Sonic getting Mario with an air horn and Mario too slow to stop him. Later, Mario challenges Sonic to a race. It doesn't go over as well as you'd think.

Mega Man 3

No matter what Keiji Inafune says, Mega Man 3 is a fantastic game and it will always be my favorite game of any Mega Man series. I only wish it had a decent commercial to go along with it. No gameplay scenes are even shown during the American TV spot. In fact most gamers that saw this didn't even know it was a gaming ad until the very end where Mega Man 3's box art is revealed. This is one of those old commercials that's just flat out strange.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Widely considered to be the greatest game of all-time, Link's first 64-bit outing was given stellar ad treatment. There's tons of gameplay scenes shown while moving music plays. There are a few different versions Ocarina of Time's TV ad and one changes the final wording. Originally the last words were "Willst thou soar? Or willst thou suck?" This was changed to "Willst thou get the girl? Or play like one?" You can see that version here.

Wave Race 64

"Water turnin', tide turnin', sun burnin' Wave crashin', head bashin' Ridin', glidin', collidin', high flyin', fish fryin' Eye crossin', cookie tossin' Snakin', quakin', booty shakin' Strollin', controllin', rock and rollin' Wave Race 64, The first jettin' , sweatin' in your face race for Nintendo 64 Strap on that sea horse and ride." What can I say? It was the 90s and I love this commercial for that.

Kirby's Adventure

Like Kirby's Dream Land before it, the American TV ad for Kirby's Adventure was very much Americanized. And you know what? I don't have a problem with that. You can see some early shades of American Kirby is Hardcore in the commercial with Kirby using his angry eyes. I quite liked the fencing segment even when I was a kid. Sword ended up becoming my favorite Kirby Copy Ability.

Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards

At an animal adoption show, a lady describes the types of animals they have to offer. Among the critters is Kirby and he promptly shoots a missile out of his month. Can your pet do that? I didn't think so. I love how Kirby doesn't show an ounce of pity for injuring that cat. I'd so adopt Kirby in a second.

Tekken Tag Tournament

A kung fu student asks his master if he's the greatest fighter in the world. The master says he's strong but the Tekken fighters are far above him. Even after he lists the fighting strengths of the Tekken combatants, the student still insists that he'll defeat him. His master just laughs in his face.

Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition

Nintendo had a good port of Street Fighter II on the SNES. SEGA was fortunate to get the tweaked update, Champion Edition on the Genesis. The highlight of this ad comes when a hand reaches out of the case and crushes the game next to it, which happens to be Mortal Kombat.


Aladdin on the Genesis and SNES were two drastically different games. The SNES version was made by Capcom while the Genesis version was developed by Virgin Interactive. I haven't played a great deal of either so I can't say which version I prefer, but I always remembered the Genesis version's commercial. Kid gets three wishes so he wishes for Aladdin. And for his next two wishes? Turning his friends into a dog and a fire hydrant. While comical, the kid really did screw himself with his last two wishes.

Streets of Rage 2

I'm pretty sure this one wasn't the first Streets of Rage 2 ad that hit TV, but it amused me so much that I just had to feature it here. Bobby is being harassed by two punks in his class. Solution? Get a Sega Genesis with Streets of Rage 2. Play it, beat, love it. Get respect and ladies. If only real life were that simple.

Part 1

Friday, September 28, 2012

Let's Look at Some Game Commercials Part 1

Advertisement is a very powerful tool. When used effectively, it can generate great interest in one's product. When used poorly, well, you get a terrible ad that people reflect on just how awful it was. For any TV watcher, commercials are easily the bane of their existence. But one thing that always catches my attention whether they happen to be good or bad are game commercials. In this new special feature, we're going to be taking a look at some game commercials. I was originally gonna title this feature, "Awesome Game Commercials" but I realized that every commercial listed may not fit that criteria. To keep from overloading the this post with videos, all you have to do is click the title to see said commercial. This is a feature I wanted to do for quite some time but due to the amount of commercials I have to list, I wasn't sure how to go about it. Then I discovered the joys of making multiple part posts.

Kirby's Dream Land

The American TV ad for Kirby's first game is radically different from the Japanese version. Kirby is being compared to Dashing Super Guy, your over the top manly figure that just screams "trying too hard." Different as it is from the Japanese commercial, I think it does a wonderful job of conveying what type of character Kirby is and what he's all about. Kirby literally chews up Dashing Super Guy and spits him out, proving that you don't need mountains of muscle to be awesome. This and the gameplay shots, one showing the defeat of iconic Kirby boss Wispy Woods was all it took to sell me on this game. Just like the North American box art, Kirby was white in this commercial because Nintendo of America wasn't sure of what color Kirby was due to a dispute between Shigeru Miyamoto and Kirby creator Masahiro Sakurai. Sakurai wanted him to be pink, Miyamoto thought he should be yellow. Considering the color limitations of the Game Boy's black and white monochrome screen, I find Kirby being displayed as white ironic.

Bomberman 64

It was on the SNES with Super Bomberman that my friends and I discovered the joys of blowing each other to kingdom come in the game's multiplayer mode that cemented by love for Bomberman. Naturally, I was stoked for the N64 incarnation of Bomberman. The single player campaign was very challenging had two endings, requiring you to collect all the hidden gold cards to see the true conclusion. I found the single player mode to be the strongest aspect oft he game while the multiplayer was lacking. What I love about Bomberman 64's commercial is the song that's attatched to it. Does it seem as if you've heard that tune somewhere before? Of course you have. Bomberman 64's commercial song is sung in the tune of the 1960s Spider-Man cartoon theme song.

Metal Gear Solid

After reading numerous extensive previews and hands on articles about Metal Gear Solid, it was quite surprising to see such a comical commercial for such a serious game. I mean, the tests they present to this solider are so simple, my two year old nephew could figure them out. The look on his face when he finds out what kinda mission he signed up for is priceless.

Excitebike 64 - Cliff / Seesaw / Boat

I read very little on Excitebike 64 before making a decision to purchase it. In the end it wasn't previews or reviews that helped convince me to buy the game (back then, reviews were my guide). It was the TV commercials that made me want to own Excitebike 64. Excitebike 64 has three different commercials and each one is laugh out loud hilarious. The first one I saw was where a motorbike driver slammed into a mountain. The second shows a toddler playing by himself on a seesaw get launched sky high after a driver lands on it. And the third shows a lone man enjoying the tranquility that comes with fishing. All that comes to a screeching halt when out of nowhere a motorbike splashes into the water. A few seconds later, the driver comes right down after it. Just what kinda ramps were these guys on? The tagline on Excitebike 64's box art reads "catch BIG AIR!" In the commercials and in the game itself, the line was clearly not blowing smoke.

Super Smash Bros.

I read up on Super Smash Bros. before it was released and it sounded like my kind of fighting game. Nintendo character's slapping each other around variously themed stages? Sign me up. While I wasn't shocked at the sight of Nintendo stars beating down on each other, I can only imagine the looks of disbelief on the faces of those that had no prior knowledge of this game's release. The commercial starts off innocently enough. Mario, Donkey Kong, Yoshi and Pikachu are all walking together holding hands in a flower field. Out of the blue, Mario turns and kicks Yoshi in the leg. From there on, everyone is beating the crap out of each other. To anyone that didn't know about this game, this commercial had to be a jaw dropper. I love how Mario is the instigator of the fight. This commercial still makes me laugh hysterically.

Super Punch-Out!!

You generally want to show your hero doing good. You know, looking cool, doing some sweet moves. The TV ad for Super Punch-Out!! shows none of this. Instead, it shows your in-game persona taking more hits than Jabby Jay and Glass Joe combined. Poor kid looks like he was used for a speed bag. Meanwhile, on the live action side of the ad, the boxer gets progressively worse after each barage of punches that the in-game boxer takes. All the while his coach goes on, telling him he's the greatest, even when he's in a body cast at the end.

Final Fantasy VI

Originally released as Final Fantasy III on the SNES, this was actually the sixth game in the FF series. Mog was one of my favorite characters and considering FFVI's complex cast, that's saying a lot. In the US ad for FFVI, Mog is holding monster auditions. Some of the scariest beasts you can imagine come through the door, growling up a storm, and Mog stays as cool as a cucumber, zapping them into oblivion, yelling "Next!" A great commercial for what is my favorite FF.

Sonic the Hedgehog

The Genesis had a two year head start on the SNES in the United States but it was still missing something. If SEGA was truly going to compete with Nintendo, it needed a mascot. With Sonic the Hedgehog, they got a mascot and then some. Sonic had an air about him that just screamed cool. SEGA of American knew this and they exploited it in their first American TV ad. Sonic was certainly not like "that nice boy, Mario." And I'm pretty sure the "lady" in the ad is Andy Dick in drag.

NiGHTS into dreams...

Just as they did with Nintendo in the 16-bit era, SEGA took potshots at Sony in the 32-bit era. The Saturn was quite the machine. NiGHTS showed off some incredible 3D visuals and effects for 1996 and SEGA was more than happy to point out that the Saturn was packing more power under it's hood than the PlayStation. In what had to be one of SEGA's most memorable moments in smear tactics, a PlayStation is dropped off a building and called "Plaything."

Donkey Kong Country

For years, Nintendo had played second fiddle to SEGA thanks in large part to Sonic the Hedgehog. Not only that, The Big N had endured wave after wave of aggressive ads from SEGA, slamming their games and their consoles. Then Donkey Kong Country stormed onto the SNES, boasting unbelievable 32-bit prerendered graphics. Nintendo was proud to proclaim that DKC couldn't be played on SEGA, 32X adaptors or CD-ROM, but only the SNES. It was a very lovely take that to Nintendo's rivals and it was quite nice to see that they weren't above aggressive marketing.

Part 2

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Thinking of Getting a 3DS XL

Before the original 3DS was even released, I knew Nintendo would come out with some kind of upgrade. History is our friend. All one has to do is look back at Nintendo's past handheld devices. The Game Boy, the Game Boy Advance, and the original DS. All three of those machines received multiple upgraded models that improved upon the previous unit in some way, shape or form. So when Nintendo announced the 3DS XL rather than get angry or frustrated, all I could utter was a calm, collected "I knew it."

Like every original DS system upgrade, the 3DS XL improves upon  the original 3DS model in a number of areas, the most important one for me being battery life. Battery life on the first 3DS with just 3DS games is  3-5 hours. I spend a lot of time playing my 3DS so I have to reach for the charger quite often. The 3DS XL battery lifespan is nearly 6 and half hours. Yeah, not much of an improvement over the original but that's still an hour more of playtime.

Ironically, one of my main problems with the 3DS XL is it's size. I prefer smaller portable gaming devices. It's one of the reasons I passed on getting a DS XL. The moment I saw the size of that thing, I knew I'd be perfectly happy sticking with my DSi. There's also the price of the 3DSXL, $200. I'm planning on buying a Wii U in a few months and I really don't want to throw that much money down on another version of the 3DS, at least not right now.

The original 3DS isn't perfect. The aforementioned battery life means it wouldn't survive a trip back to my home state of Ohio. Sytlus placement was also quite the boneheaded move. It really should have been on the bottom of the 3DS or the side. But even with these flaws, the first 3DS model is one I'll stick with for a little while longer. Besides, I have to see if Nintendo brings out another 3DS model with even better battery life than the 3DS XL.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Currently Playing #1

Welcome to a new on-going series here at Gaming Rocks On. It's a pretty common thing, listing the games we're playing in forum posts or in forum signatures, but I'm the kinda guy that likes to go into some detail about the games that are occupying my time. Not the same depth as, say, a review, but more along the lines of impressions and personal thoughts. Well, time to get this show on the road.

New Super Mario Bros. 2

One level. That was all it took to put a huge smile on my face. This game has been called a number of thing. Short, and retread are probably the most common words thrown around. While it may very well be deserving of those labels, I can say with full assurance that NSMB2 is a ton of fun.

Mario, Luigi and I go way back so for me, a Super Mario game (or any Mario game for that matter) is a no-brainer. Getting lives for me has only been difficult in a Super Mario game when I first started playing them, so I really can't complain about the overabundance of coins. Coin-Rush Mode is getting very addicting and even though the reward for getting a million coins blows, I think I'll still try to achieve it. I do wish there was some new music rather than just slight alterations of existing themes. Don't get me wrong, I love the "Wah!" voices of the NSMB games, but I'm hoping to hear something fresh for New Super Mario Bros. U. That's probably my biggest gripe I have with this game.

Mario Kart 7

The third portable entry in the Mario Kart series and it's only the seventh game (not counting the two Mario Kart GP arcade racers). 50cc was a cakewalk and 100cc stepped things up about. On 150cc, every other racer is out for blood. It's a struggle to hold on to first place, and that's even when I'm not getting hit with that freaking Blue Shell. Oh, but the Mario Kart 64 version of the Blue Shell is here, too! And 9/10 times, I get hit with it because by the time I hear it coming, I'm already rolling over, losing coins. At least with the winged version you can hear it for a few seconds even though there's very little you can actually do about it.

Blue Shell aside, I'm really liking this game. The new tracks are a joy to drive on, especially Neo Bowser City, DK Jungle, Wuhu Loop, Maku Wuhu, Rock Rock Mountain, and Shy Guy Bazaar. The selection of retro courses are pretty nice, too. I was always fond of Koopa Troopa Beach and thanks to the gliding, getting that short cut is a lot easier.

Being able to customize your carts is a welcome feature. I'm very fond of the Koopa Clown kart. At first I was like "The thing Bowser used to fight me with in Super Mario World? Seriously?" But then I took it for a spin and was surprised at how well it controlled. The Koopa Clown is officially my favorite kart of Mario Kart 7.

Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition

The only two games on this compilation disk that I don't own are Kirby's Dream Land 2 and Kirby's Dream Land 3, the later of which, I've never really played much of. Seeing as how all of these games are out on the Virtual Console, I'm a bit surprised Nintendo allowed them to be released here. Maybe they made an exception since it's Kirby's 20th anniversary.

It's been a mostly pleasant trip down memory lane for me. Some of my favorite Kirby games are present and accounted for. Kirby's Adventure was one of the last great NES games and it still holds up remarkably. Even though there's arguably a superior version of Kirby Super Star on the DS in the form of Kirby Super Star Ultra, it's nice to be able to play this game on the big screen again. I only played through Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards once so I can't say that I have many memories of it.

Kirby's Dream Land 2 isn't a bad game and I want to like it more but it doesn't have the same solid level designs of the first game. That and Kirby's animal friends make him an even bigger target. And WHERE are my dashing and sliding abilities from Kirby's Adventure?

I finished Kirby's Dream Land and played the Extra Game. CEEEEERIPES! I know they wanted to make the game more challenging, but that was overkill! I actually got a game over! A game over in a Kirby game! That hasn't happened to me since I was a kid! Kracko, a boss that was already a pain becomes wildly unpredictable and barely gives you any time to hit him!

The Challenge stages from Return to Dream Land were a great idea and it's nice to see a fresh set of stages in Kirby's Dream Collection. There's even one that has Kirby using his Smash abilities from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Magolor also seems pretty friendly here, which causes some confusion. Was he being controlled by the crown in Return to Dream Land? He fully recalls his actions in that game and expresses guilt by presenting Kirby with the Challenges present in Dream Collection. Even the ending to these Challenge games has me scratching my head on Magolor's true personality. Ah, well.

As I said in my unboxing post, the extras on this anthology are very nice. Maybe we have HAL to thank for so much effort put into this collection rather than Nintendo. I'm taking my time going through the Celebration Book, finding out things I didn't know about the series before. I'd love for future anniversary collections published by Nintendo to be put together with the kind of thought and care that went into this one.

So that's what I'm currently playing. What about you?

Favorite Tunes #27: Square Enix Edition

Once two separate companies, Square and Enix merged to form Square Enix in 2003. This company is widely known for the Final Fantasy series, but I'm not going to feature any music from that series in this installment of Favorite Tunes (I'll be doing that later). Other RPGs are gonna get their chance to shine.

NOTE: Games before the merger have also been included.

War in China - Live-A-Live (SFC)

Released only in Japan, Live-A-Live let's players choose from seven different characters each with their own story. The game's soundtrack was handled by the very talented Yoko Shimomura. This splendid track that was used for Wood Man's background music in the Mega Man ROM hack Rockman Deus Ex Machina. I've never played Live-A-Live, but if you're interested, there is a fan translated version on the net.

Unknown World - Dragon Quest I & II (SFC)

The first two Dragon Quest games were released on a compilation cartridge on the Super Famicom in Japan during the console's head day. In 2000, these two games were once again bundled together as Dragon Quest I & II for the Game Boy. Unknown World is the World Map theme that plays on your journey. In the very first Dragon Quest game, you are all alone, no party members to assist you. This theme is the perfect representation of a lonely warrior's quest. I quite like the extras melodies that were added to the SFC version of this tune.

Feldschlacht I - SaGa Frontier 2 (PS)

Kenji Ito wrote the music for the first SaGa Frontier, but for SaGa Frontier 2, the composing duties were handed to Masahi Hamauzu, a man that is closely associated with the Final Fantasy series these days. I can't recall too much about SaGa 2, but Hamaizu's work on the score was sensational. Feldschlacht I is the first of numerous battle themes and it gets arranged through numerous tracks. All of the soundtrack titles are in German. Feldschlacht roughly translates to Field Battle.

Pure Night - Secret of Mana (SNES)

This game is actually the sequel to Final Fantasy Adventure on the Game Boy, which is actually called Seiken Densetsu. While that does make Secret of Man Seiken Densetsu 2, most of us that don't live in Japan just call it Secret of Mana. There's a ton of breath taking music in Secret of Mana, but Pure Night is one of the few tracks that leaves you awe-struck. It's so hauntingly beautiful.

Bike Race - Chrono Trigger (SNES)

Most of Chrono Trigger's music was written by Yasunori Matsuda, but when he got sick, famed Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu stepped in to finish up. Matsuda tends to have the stronger tracks in Chrono Trigger, but Uematsu composed a very lively song in the form of Bike Race. This song plays in the year 3000 AD in the race against Johnny C. Bad, but you can hear it much sooner in the year 1000 A.D. by just exploring some houses and talking to people.

Field of Exper - Star Ocean: The Second Story (PS, PSP)

Beginning life on the Super Famicom, the Star Ocean series made it's way to the PlayStation and eventually the PlayStation 2 and then the PS3 and Xbox 360. Unfortunately, it looks like Star Ocean 4 will be the last Star Ocean game. Star Ocean music is generally handled by Motoi Sakuraba and he is to the Star Ocean series what Nobuo Uematsu is to the Final Fantasy series. Field of Exper plays on the world map and does a great job of making the world set before you seem endlessly vast. Second Story was ported over to the PSP under the name Star Ocean: Second Evolution.

Influence of Deep - Parasite Eve (PS)

Nobuo Uematsu gave me a reason to stop dissing opera in Final Fantasy VI and a few years later, Yoko Shimomura gave me even more reasons to stop mocking it. The beginning of the course has a lady belting out a few notes, which might lead you to believe that's all you're in for, but the song quickly shifts gears into a fast paced battle theme while the opera singing continues throughout. The first of many great battle themes in Parasite Eve.

Twin Mountains - Brave Fencer Musashi (PS)

Released in 1998, Brave Fencer Musashi, was one of Square's better attempts at doing something different. This action RPG had day and night cycles and if Musashi went too long without rest, he'd get tired and performer poorly in battle. This game really was a gem and to this day, I kick myself for trading it in.

Night of Fate - Kingdom Hearts (PS2)

Final Fantasy meets Disney could describe Kingdom Hearts in a nutshell. OK, so there's probably much more to it than that, but the only game in this series that I've finished is Chain of Memories of the GBA. This action RPG series takes original characters and has the meet up with Final Fantasy cast members and classic Disney characters. With music by Yoko Shimomura, you know your ears will be pleased.

Attack - Front Mission 3 (PS)

Front Mission 3 was the first Front Mission game to see a release outside of Japan and rather than just call it Front Mission and go the route they went with earlier Final Fantasy titles, Square kept the original numbering. When all was said and done, I invested over 70 hours into this mech turn based RPG and that was only playing one out of the two scenarios. How you answer a simple question at the start of the game will determine the path you follow. It's been more than ten years since I played Front Mission 3. Maybe I'm due for a visit.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Member of Club Nintendo

Monday night, I did something I'd been meaning to do for a few months now and that's join up with Club Nintendo. I'm sure everyone is aware, but Club Nintendo is a free club where you register select games to get points and cash them in for prizes. Since I had a lot of games to register, I made Platinum rather quickly. I haven't bought anything with my points yet. The current list of prizes doesn't seem all that great, though there are some things in there I couldn't mind having like the Donkey Kong Poster Set and maybe a few other things. Some of the stuff is price, too. I may as well just wait until I build up more points and see what other prizes they add.

Videos I Like #19: The Nintendo Office

This was a video that was made for a contest years back called Nintendo Short Cuts. Nintendo Office shows what it would be like working for Nintendo. Working for the Big N if it were crawling with Nintendo characters, specifically the mooks from the Mario games. It isn't the funniest video I've ever seen. Not by a long shot, but there are numerous things I really like about it Like the Bob-omb blowing up, Luigi's removal from the building and the bathroom segment. Give it a watch.

Top 10 Annoying Super Mario Mooks

Image by Liquid Genius

Every series has mooks that you despise having to deal with. Castlevania has those bothersome Medusa Heads, Mega Man has Mets and Sonic has those freaking Slicers. Throughout Mario's lengthy history of saving that lady in pink, he's amassed quite a large selection of flunkies. Here are ten Super Mario Mooks I don't like putting up with.

10. Pokey

Debuting in Super Mario Bros. 2, Pokey moves at the pace of a snail and has multiple body parts. In his first game he was quite annoying because you had to hit his head to get rid of him altogether. Hitting any other body part would just make him shorter. He wasn't so bad In Super Mario World. If you had Yoshi you could quickly eat his body parts until he was all gone. Pokey would eventually make his way to the 3D Mario games where he'd gain some new attack patterns such as use of thorns in their bodies as well as trying to crush Mario. I always feel safer dealing with these guys in any Mario game that allows Yoshi or lets you kill them with a power-up. Unfortunately, I'm not always so lucky.

09. Wiggler

These chaps look happy enough, but one stomp on them sends them into a burning red rage where they move much faster than they did before. They be easy to deal with alone but in a confined area in a groups, they can be a problem. Once they get angry, it's impossible to make them go yellow again and they can't be killed with a head stomp. You need Yoshi, a Starman, or a Koopa Shell to get these creatures out of your hair.

08. Blooper

Water levels mean lots of pipes, Cheep-Cheeps and Bloopers, my most hated aquatic foe of the Super Mario series. You pretty much need a Fire Flower if you're going underwater in a 2D Mario, otherwise, there isn't much you can do to fend these things off. If you weren't careful, these guys could even chase you to the surface in the Super Mario Galaxy games. In Super Mario Sunshine, they not only learned to survive on land, they could shoot goop at you as well.

07. Piranha Plant

Always hiding out in pipes, these were some of the most annoying enemies in the original Super Mario Bros. There presence was about as frequent as Goombas and since they were always hanging out in pipes, you had to time your jumps. In Super Mario Bros. 3, they learned to shoot fireballs, making them an even greater threat. The main reason people hate Pipe Land so much? These freaks right here. In 2D Mario adventures they only could make no physical contact with them but in 3D games, they can be punched, kicked or stomped out if he doesn't have a power-up handy. I must admit that I took great satisfaction in sneaking up on the sleeping Piranha Plants in Super Mario 64 and clocking them good. One of the Special World levels in New Super Mario Bros. Wii takes place on ice-made blocks and it's overloaded with Piranha Plants that shoot fire. It's every bit as bad as you can imagine it to be.

06. Magikoopa

I straight up hate this guy. In Super Mario World, he was bad enough when he'd materialize out of thin air, turn blocks into enemies with their magic rods. Magikoopa returned in the 3D games starting with Super Mario Galaxy. In Super Mario 3D Land, precision jumps were made much more difficult with these guys flinging magic in your general direction, especially on those auto scrolling airship levels.

05. Chargin' Chuck

Sometimes he throws baseballs, footballs, and sometimes he uses a hockey stock to slam rocks at you. Just what sport is he supposed to be playing? Does he even know? I digress. Despite only appearing in one game  (Super Mario World) the Chucks managed to be quite an annoyance. I'm guessing because of that football helmet and all that padding that it takes quite a number of stomps to take Chuck out of the game, fewer if you're on Yoshi. Sometimes they can split into threes and charge right at you. The footballs he throws are pretty easy to dodge but those baseballs can be annoying if you don't have a Cape Feather. And don't even get me started on their appearance in the Special World level Tubular. *Shudders*

04. Snifit

Snifit thankfully doesn't travel in packs, but that's probably because he's enough to deal with all by himself. Attacking from a distance, Snifit shoots ammo at you from his mask. The only Super Mario game he's been in is Super Mario Bros. 2 and after all these years, he still gives me a hard time.

03. Boss Bass

Cheep-Cheeps aren't too tough to deal with. After all, they are pretty small and mostly stay underwater. Even when they jump out of the water to attack, it isn't really anything to panic over. But when they are enormous in size and try to swallow you whole, then you've got serious problems. Boss Bass first appeared in Super Mario Bros. 3 and instilled within me a deep sense of fear when he swallowed my Fire Flower Mario in one gulp. Boss Bass doesn't screw around. He doesn't care what suit or special power up you have. If he has a chance to make a meal out of you, you'd best believe he'll capitalize on it. The second you see this guy, killing him should be your top priority, lest you want to know what his insides look like.

02. Hammer Bros.

They can be throwing hammers. They can throw fireballs. It doesn't matter if they happen to be tossing boomerangs. The Hammer Bros. and their extended family are one of the biggest headaches in the history of the Super Mario franchise, having been a thorn in gamer's side since the original Super Mario Bros. Annoying solo, they often travel in pairs and their hammers have quite the reach. Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels was already a difficult game, but some sadistic person on the development team thought it would be a good idea to let these guys move towards you while they threw hammers. In Super Mario Bros. 3, you could give them a taste of poetic justice by using the Hammer Suit to dispose of them.

01. Lakitu

Of all the mooks on this list, this is the only one I want to choke. Lakitu has been nuisance for twenty seven years, hanging overhead in his floating cloud, chucking Spinys at you. Basically, Lakitu is a pest that makes more pests. He made the upper portion of Sky Land in Super Mario Bros. 3 so aggravating by appearing in nearly every level. I always kill Lakitu on the count of that I hate him so much. His death cries in Super Mario Galaxy 2 greatly please me.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Favorite Tunes #26: Music From Nintendo Games

One of the biggest companies on the planet, Nintendo doesn't always make the right decisions (the way they handle online is so screwy) but they remain of of the most innovative players in gaming. They also make some of the best games with some of the greatest music.

Main Theme - Wii Sports Resort (Wii)

Need a vacation from saving Hyrule from Ganon or rescuing Princess Peach for the umpteenth time? Take a trip to Wuhu Island. Shoot some hoops, play table tennis, try your hand at archery, or hit the waves on a wake board. That's only a few of the activities you can do in Wii Sports Resort. A follow up game to the massively successful Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort went on to become another one of the Wii's best selling games. Wuhu Island has become something of a staple in Nintendo games. It was the setting for Pilotwings Resort and two tracks from Mario Kart 7 were set around Wuhu Island, the later game which used an awesome arrangement of Wii Sports Resort's Main Theme.

Impact Site - Pikmin (GCN, Wii)

I don't play a great deal of real time strategy games, but Pikmin really reached out and grabbed me. Set on an unknown planet, Captain Olimar has crashed his ship and lost 30 of its parts. He has only 30 days to gather the pieces because once that much time elapses, the toxic air will take it's toll on his body. Fortunately for Olimar, he as the aid of dozes of creatures called Pikmin. These little guys that he plucks from the ground are more than willing to follow Olimar and obey his every command. The Impact Site is more or less the tutorial area for Pikmin, easing you into the gameplay mechanics and teaching you how to control the Pikmin, which is really quite simple. The musical theme that plays during this area, to me, at least feels like it sums up your first encounter with the Pikmin and their world.

Molgera - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (GCN)

I picked up this game a year after it had released under Nintendo's Player's Choice label but it would be years later before I sat down and played it. During the first few months of playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl, one of the many songs I unlocked was "Molgera". I went into the menus to hear what the song sounded like and after a few seconds of listening to CHIKA over and over, I cranked this song all way up so the chances of hearing it on Toon Link's stage were extremely high. The Wind Waker ended up staring my favorite version of Link, became one of my favorite Zelda games and has one of my favorite boss themes of all-time. Including this tune in Brawl was a wonderful idea.

Power-Up - Wrecking Crew (NES)

Wrecking Crew is one of the better early NES games that still holds up well. Playing as Mario, this puzzle game has you trying to destroy a certain amount of  blocks with your hammer while avoiding enemies. It received a Japan only sequel in Wrecking Crew '98 on the Super Famicom. The Power-Up or Bonus Theme music is another piece of retro music that was used in Super Smash Bros. Brawl whenever you grab a Golden Hammer. It's quite catchy.

Metal City - Drill Dozer (GBA)

Ah, Game Freak, the company that is heavily associated with Pokemon. I don't despise Pokemon but whenever they make a game that doesn't star everyone's favorite electric rodent, it makes me wish they'd make more of them. Pulseman is such an example and so is the GBA's Drill Dozer, one of the handheld's best games that was not a port, but a completely original title. In this unique take on the platform genre, you played as Jill, a young girl who controls a multi-functional drill. Drill Dozer boasts some of the best visuals the GBA has ever seen and a very upbeat soundtrack. As good a game as Drill Dozer was, it was still failure at retail and Jill hasn't had a leading role since this game. She did, however, appear as an assist trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Drill Dozer is well worth tracking down and shouldn't cost you a lot of bones.

Eternal Star - Mario Party (N64)

Mario Party 9 recently released earlier this year. Kinda hard to believe Mario has been partying hard since 1999. If you want to play the game that started the this shindig, you'll have to track down a physical copy. The original Mario Party was notorious for giving gamers all kinds of blisters with it's crazy mini games, some that required gamers to spin the analog stick incredibly fast. Yasunori Mitsuda is primarily known for his work on RPGs but with Mario Party, he flexed his creative muscles more, giving us some very memorable Mario music. I still argue to this day that the original Mario Party has the best soundtrack of them all.

Love Lab - Custom Robo (GCN)

This wasn't the first game in the Custom Robo series, but it was the first game to get a release outside of Japan. In actuality, this is the fourth Custom Robo game and in Japan, it carries the subtitle, Battle Revolution. Being a huge fan of robots, I was very intrigued by Custom Robo and managed to pick up a copy on the cheap years back. In this game you battle other robots, get parts and customize your robo to your hearts content. The series gained even more exposure outside of Japan with the release of Custom Robo Arena on the DS.

Toxic Landfill - Wario Land 4 (GBA)

Wario's fourth portable adventure is one of the most eye-catching games on the GBA. And it was actually one of the system's earliest games, released four months after the GBA's North American launch. Wario Land 4 is an impressive game on all fronts, especially in the audio department. The game's title theme, Work It, even has a few clearly discernible lyrics. I'm a sucker for a good bass line and Toxic Landfill has one of the sickest bass line intros I've ever heard. I tend to get annoyed at a track that takes to long to get to the main course, but in this case, I really don't mind it. That 40 second build up is mind-blowing. The actual course is quite good, too. I love those GBA guitar riffs.

Rockface Rumble - Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie's Double Trouble (SNES)

Dixie was a very popular character, making a huge splash in Donkey Kong Country 2. As good a character as she was, many fans aren't sure it was the wisest idea to have Diddy get kidnapped and have him replaced with Kiddie Kong as her partner for the final game in the SNES trilogy. While not a terrible game by any means, this is probably one of the reasons DKC3 is regarded as the weakest of the three games. Nonetheless, we did get some more good music from Rare. This particular track was composed by Eveline Novakovic. It's all about the guitar solo at 50 seconds in.

Andy's Theme - Advance Wars (GBA)

War in on the go? Sounds like a money maker to me. Advance Wars is the first game in Nintendo's Wars series to be released outside of Japan. The likes of Famicom Wars and Game Boy Wars may never see releases outside of the Land of the Rising Sun, but the Advance Wars games always seem to get wider recognition. I own the first two GBA games and I haven't finished either one. But I have played long enough to hear Andy's Theme and I can assure you, it's quite good.