Bianco Hills - Super Mario Sunshine (GCN)
Mario has to spend the start of his well-deserved vacation cleaning up a huge mess that he didn't even make on Delfino Isle. Super Mario Sunshine used a lot of the same gameply mechanics from Super Mario 64 but the addition of FLUDD changed this up considerably. Players relied on this machine's aid in platforming and restoring the locals to their former, squeaky clean glory. Much of Sunshine's music is very tropical resort inspired and you'll hear the main theme, Delfino Plaza get arranged numerous times throughout the game.
Azure Blue World... for Emerald Coast - Sonic Adventure (DC, GCN)
Tails crash-lands his plane at the end of the beach that is Emerald Coast. Sonic's off to retrieve his best friend in the first full-length level of the first 3D Sonic game. Most Sonic console games begin with a level that has greenery strewn about, but this one ups on on a sunny beach. There's lots of air to catch, high speeds to run at and even a killer whale to flee in terror from.
The Island of Everlasting Summer - Super Adventure Island (SNES)
|By Kari LikeLikes|
There are three things I remember about Super Adventure Island. 1.) Master Higgins' girlfriend has been turned into stone and he's on a quest to changer her back to flesh and blood. 2.) This game was mind numbingly difficult. 3.) It had an incredible 90's-infused soundtrack done by Yuzo Koshiro.
Palm Bay Heights - Burnout 2: Point of Impact (PS2, XB, GCN)
Like Mega Man 2 did for the Blue Bomber, Burnout 2 is the game that propelled the Burnout series into the hearts of gamers as one of the slickest and most insane arcade style racers they'd ever seen at the time. The arcade mode was hours of entertainment in and of itself but then Criterion took the crashes, one of the most noteworthy features of the original Burnout and made them even more cringe-inducing in crash mode, where the whole point was to find out how to cause the biggest car pileup. If memory serves, this was the last Burnout to use original music. From Burnout 3 onward, all of the music was licensed material.
Scene 1 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project (NES)
Built from the ground up for the NES, the Turtles third NES offering plays a lot like the TMNT II: The Arcade game but many would argue that it's the superior beat 'em up of the two. As is the case with most Konami titles, this game has exceptional music. Jake "virt" Kaufman, one of my favorite video game music composers cites TMNT III: The Manhattan Project as having some of the best music in a video game.
Dance with the Lizards - Chrono Cross (PS)
A game I'm not too fond of, but it has a soundtrack that I absolutely adore. There's no time travel involved but there are two worlds to travel back and forth to and a huge, huge cast of party members you can assemble. You can even run away from any battle, including boss battles. Like the previous two Chrono games, Yasunroi Matsuda wrote the score for Cross, which is naturally excellent.
Moon Beach - Streets of Rage (GEN)
What other beat 'em up lets you call the cops to your air that pull up in a car and blast the opposition with a rocket launcher? That's some of the coolest assists on the planet, even if it does majorly interrupt the flow of the game. Most gamer (myself included) agree that Streets of Rage 2 is the best in the series, but the first game is still worth your time and maybe the third if you don't mind it's soul crushing difficulty. Like many of it's franchises, SEGA has left this one in the gutter for eons.
Besaid Island - Final Fantasy X (PS2)
If you missed the chance to play Final Fantasy X, you're in luck. Square Enix will be releasing an HD remix of it and Final Fantasy X-2 this year for the PS3. Even better, this will be the International version. FFX was the first game in the series to use voice actor's and the first to have a score not entirely written by Nobuo Uematsu. Joining him to compose this extensive soundtrack was Masashi Hamazu and Junya Nakano, both of which's compositions were equally as impressive as Uematsu's. The music of FFX played a larger part in helping shape the world of the game to make it feel unlike any other Final Fantasy.
Poolside - Tekken 5 (PS2)
I'm not a fighting game enthusiast and I certainly don't know the first thing about executing 10 hit combos but I do enjoy a good game of Tekken and Tekken 5 certainly delivers that. Some say that the quality of Tekken's music has declined since Tekken 2, but I'm in the camp that still enjoys it. Nothing like brawling by the pool as onlookers cheer.
Blanka Stage - Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (SNES ver.)
Street Fighter II was birthed in the arcades but it was ported to almost every console and platform you can imagine. I like the arcade versions music of a lot of themes, but in my humble opinion, Blanka's stage theme sounds the best with SNES sound chip instruments.
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