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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Favorite Tunes #41: Give Capcom Some Love Edition

"Capcom sucks!"
"Capcom killed Mega Man!"

Yeah, Capcom is far from being anyone's favorite video game company these days, but you'll have to forgive me if I don't feel like wanting to constantly spew bile on them. I'm certainly not oblivious to Capcom's fowl-ups but at the same time, I don't want to be overly negative either. There's far too much of that in this industry as it is. Instead, I want to present Capcom in a better light so Favorite Tunes #41 is nothing but music from Capcom games.

Another Joe - Viewtiful Joe (GCN, PS2)

Developed by the now defunct Clover Studios, Viewtiful Joe was a wonderfully fresh take on the beat 'em up genre. The title character was clearly designed with super sentai characteristics in mind with that helmet and costume. Viewtiful Joe could speed up or slow down time to chain together devastating combos on his enemies. The game was also very old-school in it's design. You could only save once every few levels, and Viewtiful Joe was no cakewalk. This made an already difficult game even more frustrating. Even so, Viewtiful Joe is well worth tracking down if you've never played it. Another Joe is probably one of the most headache inducing evil clone fights I've ever come across in a video game. It took me so many attempts to beat him, which is probably why his theme got stuck in my head, which I must admit is pretty awesome.

In Front of Pacific High School's Gate - Rival Schools (ARC, PS)

For some reason, kids have a beef with other schools so they do what any high school students would do: duke it out. Thing is, not even the teachers or principals are stopping these fights. Heck, a couple of them are
slapping the rival students and teachers around as well. I really can't recall the plot behind Rival Schools so it's been so long since I've played it. One thing I can remember is that it was a great deal of fun. Apparently Sakura was getting into fights even when she wasn't chasing around Ryu because she's a playable character in this game.

Donovan Stage - Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo (ARC ver.)

If you're looking for the original Super Puzzle Fighter, don't bother. It does not exist. Capcom figured slapping a II somewhere wouldn't cause any confusion. Yeah. Anyway, this gem dropping game pits characters from the Street Fighter and DarkStalkers games and has them duke it out via puzzle battles. The GBA version is the only one I've played and unlocking bonus content like alternate color costumes and music was brutally hard thanks to the AI that makes zero errors and moves at lightning speed. This particular version of Donovan's theme that you'e hearing comes from the arcade version's soundtrack.

Metro City Subway - Final Fight (ARC ver.)

When Mayor Mike Haggar's daughter, Jessica gets kidnapped, he doesn't go to the police. No, this former pro wrestler takes to the streets and pounds the crap out of each member of the Mad Gear gang to get her back. He even brought along his friends Guy and Cody, the later of which happens to be the boyfriend of Jessica. Final Fight was ported to just about every system imaginable and while I greatly enjoy Final Fight One on the GBA, the arcade version is still tops in my book. The arcade version's music of Final Fight may sound a bit loud and very drum heavy, but I quite like it.

Precious Heart (Sakura) - Street Fighter EX plus Alpha (PS)

Ah, Sakura. Young, spunky and most likely to rush off into trouble without thinking (see her ending in Street Fighter Alpha 3 for a good example). Sakura entered the Street Fighter world in Street Fighter Alpha 2 and has since been one of the franchise's most popular characters. While she was given an iconic theme in Alpha 2, one that has since been arranged a dozen times, she has another theme, one that some might say is even better. One of the things I really love about the EX series was it's willingness to do original music and give classic characters brand new themes. Sakura was certainly no exception, filled with sweet electrical guitar whales and some of the best sax solos I've ever heard. I know the EX series gets a bad rap but the music is AWESOME. Hit YouTube and listen to Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha's soundtrack. All of it. You'll thank me later.

Battle at the Castle Fort - Knights of the Round (ARC ver.)

Capcom didn't just make great fighters. They pumped out equally amazing beat 'em ups. One among the many greats was 1991's Knights of the Round. In this mid evil beat down, up to three players could hack and slash their way through seven stages as Arthur, Lancelot, and Perceval. Knights of the Round also had some RPG elements as players could level up their characters. Their character weapons and armor even changed as they grew stronger. It wasn't super deep or customizable since you had no control over what was upgrade, but it was still a cool feature.

Fire Grotto (Stage 3) - The Magical Quest Staring Mickey Mouse (SNES) 

Between the NES, Genesis and SNES, Disney games were some of the better licensed properties back in the day. Castle of Illusion and World of Illusion usually get all the glory when it comes to games about the Mouse, but The Magical Quest is also a worth Mickey adventure. Pluto has been kidnapped and Mickey must rely on the abilities of his various costumes to make it through the game's six stages. Mickey's wardrobe consists of a wizard outfit for magic, a firefighter's suit for putting out flames (extremely useful for the third level) and mountain climbing gear. The music of Magical Quest sounds a lot like the audio found in Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts and I guess that's to be expected since the games shared the same composer, Mari Yamaguchi.

Area 1 - Bionic Commando (NES)

Imagine this: you're thrust into a world swarming with enemies at every turn. Sometimes you have to ascend to new heights. Other times you'll have to descend into the depths below. And you cannot jump, no matter how badly you may want to, your legs lack this simple function. When I was told I could not jump in Bionic Commando I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Most action games have your character jump. I mean, it's essential to evading attacks and reaching higher platforms. Yet somehow, Bionic Commando wound up being one of the most memorable action titles in spite of the fact that the protagonist cannot perform a single leap. Super Joe's grappling gun allows him to get around just as well without relying on one of the most common moves that we often take for granted. In addition to it's militaristic soundtrack, Bionic Commando was one of the few NES games to have cursing and from Hilter, no less.

Rising Sun - Okami (PS2, Wii)

First released on the PS2 in 2006 Okami won over critics and gamers alike with it's breath-taking visuals, engaging story and memorable characters. In spite of it's accolades, Okami was an overlooked game for quite some time. 2008 saw the release of the Wii version which added motion controls to enhance the gameplay. In late 2012, an HD version of Okami was released on the PS3's PSN, giving Okami even further exposure. I've yet to get around to playing my copy of the Wii version but I absolutely adore Okami's art style and Japanese-inspired soundtrack.

Blazing Internet (Fire Man Stage) - Mega Man Network Transmission (GCN)

Unlike most games in the Battle Network series, Mega Man Network Transmission did away with the overhead view and random battles in favor of classic 2D Mega Man action. The game sported a cel-shaded look and a difficulty that would humble even the most experienced of Mega Man vets. The soundtrack was composed by Shinji Hosoe, Ayako Saso, and Yousuke Yasui. You can hear some of the original Fire Man's theme mixed into Blazing Internet.

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