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Friday, June 27, 2014

Downloads #32

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (Wii U)

As I'm sure many of you are already aware of, Nintendo has offered Mario Kart 8 buyers a great deal. Upon registering the game, you get your choice of select downloadable Wii U games from the eShop. My free game of choice was Wind Waker HD. I loved the GCN version but I never got around to finishing it. I stopped playing at the Triforce hunting portion of the game. I do plan to pick up a physical copy of this game somewhere down the line, but for now, I'm more than content with this digital version, especially since I got if for free.


I've been wanting to snag this digital game for quite sometime but the original price is what usually kept me from downloading it. While browsing the 3DS eShop, VVVVVV was on sale for $3.99, which was all the incentive I needed to add it to my digital 3DS collection. I hear this game is really hard.

Shovel Knight (Wii U, 3DS)

I've been excited for this game's release for more than a year now. After seeing the TBA on the release on the eShop for the longest time, I was beginning to wonder how long we would be teased with a release date. Finally, the wait is over. And man, was this ever a game worth waiting for. I picked it up on both the Wii U and 3DS eShop. After spending a little over and hour with this game, I cannot wait to experience the rest of it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Latest Purchases #71

This is one long overdue post so I'm just gonna dive right into it.

Kirby Triple Deluxe is a game I picked up while doing some Father's Day shopping. Being one of the few new first party 3DS releases that isn't priced at $40 and being a big fan of Kirby, I just had to add this to my library.

Mario Kart 8. I had to do some searching to find a copy of this game. With over 1.2 million copies sold worldwide, Mario Kart 8 is the fastest selling Wii U game.

While looking for Mario Kart 8, I managed to come across the Metroid Prime Trilogy. I had a chance to pick up this set new back in 2010, but I passed it up and have since had a hard time tracking it down. GameStop actually had several copies of this baby in, much to my surprise.

As you may or may not know, this year is the 75th anniversary of Batman and I'm doing some celebrating by adding some Batman Blu-Rays to the my collection. I already have parts 1 and 2 of The Dark Knight Returns, with part one being on DVD and part two being the Blu-Ray combo pack. Why Warner Bros. didn't just make The Dark Knight Returns into a full movie at first, I do not know. I ended up paying less for this Deluxe Edition, which was on sale, than I did for both movies when they were stand alone releases. It really does pay to wait.

I haven't read the graphic novel Son of Batman is based off of, and from what I've heard, Damian Wayne isn't a character I think I'd like, but this still sounds like it could be an interesting Batman flick all the same.

My first DBZ lanyard and a Super Saiyan Goku one, no less. I don't actually put my keys on any of the lanyards I've bought, mostly because they don't seem as durable as the sports variety I've seen in stores, but I like the designs on the ones I've picked up thus far. Maybe one day, I'll stick my keys on them, but for now, they do make some nice room ornaments.

I've never played Minecraft but I'm very much aware of the massive fan following that it has. I was in the market for some new gaming related hoodies and this puppy was on sale at fye for $15.

Yes, that is a Kame shirt and is the first orange t-shirt I've owned since I was a kid. I'm not planning on doing any cosplaying but as a huge DBZ fan, this was too good to pass up. It'll be hard to resist shouting "KA-ME-HA-ME-HA" whenever I wear this thing.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Favorite Tunes #92: Summer Time

Well, the sun is shinning brightly, which means its getting really hot outside. Time once again for some video game music that evokes the feels that are associated with summer time. Enjoy and stay cool.

Dolphin Shoals - Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)

The track designs have gotten more outrageously awesome with each entry in the longstanding Mario Kart series. Dolphin Shoals takes players through a massive underwater cavern, complete with a huge eel that can be driven on or under before bringing them back to the surface. The underwater version of this course them definitely has a tropical vibe going on, but I prefer the topside version in all its jazzy glory.

Blitz Off - Final Fantasy X (PS2)

The first Final Fantasy to feature voice acting! And the results were, well, we all know how that went. Final Fantasy X is quite the interesting entry in the series for a number of reasons, and not just due to addition of voices. The battle system was a radical departure from what fans were previously accustomed to. Navigating the world map couldn't be anymore simpler with just selecting your destination and winding up there in the blink of an eye. X was also the first main series game to have music not solely composed by Nobuo Uematsu. The veteran FF music writer was joined by Masashi Hamauzu and Junya Nakano. This is one of Hamauzu's pieces.

Gelato Beach - Super Mario Sunshine (GCN)

It certainly wasn't the best Super Mario games, but Super Mario Sunshine did feature one of my favorite locals of any video game, Delfino Isle. All the island locations made the game more of a summer/aquatic feeling than all the water levels in every other Super Mario game combined. There were an abundance of arrangements of the game's main theme, Delfino Plaza and Gelato Beach features touches of jazz throughout.

Palmtree Panic US - Sonic CD (SCD)

I've always enjoyed the American version of Sonic CD's soundtrack, but for the longest time, I just couldn't get into Palmtree Panic's default theme. It literally took years before this tune clicked with me. Now, I find it to be one of the game's most soothing musical tracks and quite hummable to boot.

Dolphin Park - Wave Race 64 (N64)

I always like it when composers give areas that some players may or may not spend a great deal of time in their own pieces of music. Dolphin Park acts as Wave Race 64's practice arena, which can help new players adjust to the controls and the game's exceptional water physics. This is also the only place in the entire game where you'll hear one of the game's very best tunes.

Aqua Man Stage - Mega Man 8 (PS, SAT)

To anyone that thinks Classic series Mega Man music losses it's charm if it isn't in chiptune formate, I say, screw that noise. This handsome guy has one ultra relaxing theme. To date, Mega Man 8 remains the only game in the entire history of the franchise that Mega Man could actually swim.

Favorite Tunes Database

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Favorite Tunes #91: Welcome to Mario Kart!

With Mario Kart 8 being all the rage and Mario Kart music on the brain, this Favorite Tunes is dedicated to gaming's greatest kart racing series. I haven't given the spotlight to Mario Kart since Favorite Tunes #24. Where does the time go? Enjoy.

Donut Plains - Super Mario Kart (SNES)

The original Super Mario Kart. Mode 7 heaven, Donkey Kong Jr. and that dastardly rubber band AI that would infuriate me to no end. Also, no Blue Shells! As much as I can appreciate Super Mario Kart for giving life to the series, I think its safe to say that this game has been surpassed by the plethora of sequels that have come in its wake. That isn't to say that it isn't a game I cannot come back to, however. The soundtrack is still among some of my favorite SNES music.

Bowser's Castle - Mario Kart 64 (N64)

There were no less than three different Bowser Castle courses in Super Mario Kart. In Mario Kart 64, this was scaled back to one, but the course layout made it standout from all three versions of Bowser's Castle in the previous game. The Thwomps were now enormous and could had a higher chance of crushing you since they were given far more mobility. Numerous statues of Bowser breathing fire were littered throughout the track and contact with a Banana Peel or Koopa Shell at the wrong time could send you into the various lava pits. Ah, the memories!

Shy Guy Island/Cheep-Cheep Beach - Mario Kart: Super Circuit (GBA)

With GBA games popping up left and right on the Wii U's Virtual Console service, I'd say its only a matter of time before Mario Kart: Super Circuit becomes a available for digital download. Super Circuit returned the to the series Mode 7 racing roots as and was the first game in the series to introduce Retro Courses, tracks from previous Mario Kart games. In the case of Super Circuit, all twenty courses from Super Mario Kart were featured.

Baby Park - Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (GCN)

A track with a super simple design manages to be one of the most chaotic and a fan favorite. For all of its arcade style gameplay features, Baby Park is one of the few tracks in the Mario Kart series that has a design that's more fitted for traditional racing games.

Grumble Volcano - Mario Kart Wii (Wii)

Structurally speaking, quite a number of tracks in the Mario Kart series have questionable placement. A island overflowing with chocolate mud, a highway brimming with traffic that isn't watching out for the safety of kart racers and the numerous ice rinks to name a few. But having your racers go at it on an erupting volcano? Who does that? But then, if Mario Kart tracks were all about playing it safe, the races wouldn't be anywhere near as fun.

Sunshine Airport - Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)

Super Mario Sunshine is not what many fans would call a bright spot in the Super Mario series. It isn't a bad game by any means but when compared to the titles that came before and those that followed, it truly does come up short. Still, it does have one of my favorite settings in any Nintendo game, Isle Delfino and it brought me great joy to see Mario Kart 8 pay tribute to the game in the form of Sunshine Airport. Not only is this one my most beloved tracks to race on, but it has one of the most uplifting musical pieces in the game and anyone that's played Mario Kart 8 knows that the soundtrack is not blowing smoke.

Favorite Tunes Database

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Search

As you all know, Mario Kart 8 was released on May 30th, 2014 in both physical and digital formats. After taking care of the bills for the month, I had little in the way of cash left over so I knew I'd end up missing out and Mario's latest kart racing exploits on launch day. "No biggie," I thought to myself. I'd have money in my bank account on June 3rd, so I'd just go out and nab a physical copy then. Possessing the funds to obtain the game was no longer the problem. Finding a physical copy was what proved to be the real challenge.

The first place I checked was fye. Since I got 10% off whatever I buy, I could save a few bucks off of a $60 HD game. I was actually doing a bit of window shopping on Sunday afternoon after having some adjustments done to my specs and I noticed that there wasn't a single copy of Mario Kart 8 in stock. I thought this could possibly change by Tuesday but when the day rolled around I checked back and there was nothing. So much for saving a bit of change.

The next stop was my local Target, which has a nice selection of games. Surely, they'd have Mario Kart 8. There were two sections behind the glass cases where Mario Kart 8 would be and in the place of each was a whole lot of nada. Nothing is worse than staring at the space a game should be and seeing that nothing, absolutely nothing is there. 'Tis a bit soul crushing.

Still walking around in Target, one of the electronics department workers asked if there was anything I needed. I told him I was looking for Mario Kart 8, but it seems that they were sold out. He said they might have some behind the counter register. Joy! A glimmer of light in the gloom! After about a minutes worth of anticipation, he told them that they were indeed out of stock. Welcome to Disappointment Valley. Population: Me. The funny thing about the whole Target thing? Reserving the game there actually crossed my mind but I decided to pass because I thought getting one a few days after launch would be child's play.

I didn't think K-Mart would have any copies but it wouldn't hurt to check. I picked up a few things for my dad on Father's day as well as snagging their last copy of Kirby: Triple Deluxe along with chatting it up about Kirby and video games with the cute girl that rung me up. So while my search for Mario Kart 8 in K-Mart was ultimately fruitless, I still came out with a few things in tow.

I was about ready to admit defeat on finding a physical copy of Mario Kart 8. I hadn't slept great the night before and I was really starting to feel it. I could just head home, hop on the eShop and get myself a digital copy and always get a physical later when more became available. But then I remembered that there was a GameStop closer to my apartment than the fye, Target and K-Mart I had gone to. Sure, those places sold games, but GameStop was all about games. I know a lot of folks feel GameStop is the Devil of video game stores, but they usually have a healthy stock of highly anticipated games.

After  quick trip home, I set off of GameStop. It was the first time I'd been in this particular store. I'd usually just gone to the GameStop in my mall but for unknown reasons, that one closed down. There was only one person working the store and he was tending to a couple that was trading in their Xbox 360 and some games. The wait on these people was excruciating and it really made me wonder why only one clerk was running the store at that point and time. Yeah, it was getting later into the evening hours but other customers were coming in as well and they couldn't get speedy service since only one employee was on the floor.

Once the 360 trading couple finished up I was waited on and before I could even ask, I saw it and in a surprising amount of quantities, sitting on a shelf behind the store clerk, the light reflecting off the shrink wrap like the light bounces off a diamond. Mario Kart 8. If there was every a chance to play the Zelda Item Catch theme, that was the time. Although to be perfectly honest, I think the Super Metroid Item Jingle would have been more fitting.

I didn't have to ask because I knew they were there, but I still posed the question "Are those actual copies of Mario Kart 8 on the shelf behind you?" Rather than give me some snide remark, he answered my question in a positive tone. I told him I'd take one along with a used, complete copy of the Metroid Prime Trilogy that I'd spotted while browsing the store. Surprisingly, they had like six of those and the Metroid Prime Trilogy doesn't turn up there very often, at least it doesn't from what I've seen. And just like that, my search for Mario Kart 8 was over.

It has been a long time since I've really had to hunt a video game down. I'd almost forgotten what it was like. The the let downs, the hope spots, and everything else that comes with a good video game search makes it all worth while, especially when they end in success. Although in the case of this one, I could have played a version of that was the object of my affections, albeit a digital version. But since this is  a new game and one that doesn't cost an arm and a let, I figured I'd go for  the physical copy. And even if I hadn't got a physical copy, I still came out with some good stuff like a few gifts for my dad, Kirby Triple Deluxe, possibly renewed a cute girl's interest in video games and overall had a good day. Although the fact that I did get Mario Kart 8 along with the Metroid Prime Trilogy with a little more effort than I thought I'd have to put in due to having to search multiple stores made things work out much better than I'd originally hoped.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Latest Purchases #70

This is a batch of thing I purchased about a month ago. Maybe I should call this one Not-So-Latest-Purchases. Please pardon the sub-par quality of the image.

I actually have a collection of Dragon Ball Z action figures. I just don't have anything to currently display them on so they rest in a box in my closet. I thought I might some day pick up a DBZ plush. But I never imagined my first DBZ soft toy would be Majin Buu. When I saw this thing at fye, I was overcome with the warm, fuzzies and daaawwws. I mean, come on. Just look at Buu in plush form. He's soooo cute! I had to have him! Fat Majin Buu isn't my favorite Buu. That would actually be Kid Buu, but I think of all the Buu plushies they could make, Fat Buu is the most logical one to go with. Of course, if I see a Kid Buu plush, I'll be all over that like white on rice.

The Spectacular Spider-Man The Complete Series on Blu-Ray. I'd heard this release was coming to co-inside with the theatrical release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and I always wanted a season two release of Spectacular Spidey. I've owned season one since 2009 and I was getting tempted to pick of the single DVD releases of season two just so I could have the whole series. Man, am I ever glad I held off on doing that. It is such a shame that this Spidey series was canned because it really did give us the best animated version of the web-swinger.

This Luigi Mario Kart Wii RC racer makes two in a series of five. I could have picked up Yoshi, DK or Peach, but I figure the Mario RC racer I already own needed his little bro to keep him company. My place is mostly carpet filled so I sadly, only have the kitchen to play around with these things. As such, I have yet to open Mario and Luigi is going to be staying in his box as well.

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai was the first DBZ game I ever played. The abridged story mode (kinda funny when you take into account Team Four Star's DBZ Abridged) helped me catch up on the numerous DBZ sagas since I was a newcomer at the time. Budokai 3 was easily the best of the original Budokai games and arguably the best DBZ game. I know the music has been changed in both games due to Kenji Yammamoto being booted off the DBZ anime and games due to plagiarism, but some of the tracks in place sound quite good and I can always go back and play the original games if I want to hear the original score.

The moon-shaped Sacchi bookmark has a quote from Edith Wharton, which reads" There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." I've always been a night person so I guess I was indulging that aspect of myself by picking this thing up. Not so much the quote, which is awesome, but for the shape the bookmark is in.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Favorite Tunes #90: Sparking! Ka-me-ha-me-HA!

If you've read this blog for a while, then you know I'm a Dragon Ball Z fan. If you didn't well, you do now. If was kinda tough come up with a sub title for this one, but then I thought, why not go with a reference to one of the most famous anime intros ever, Cha-La-Head-Cha-La? Anyhoo, enjoy not only some DBZ tunes, but some DB music as well, of the game variety.

Nimbus Theme - Dragon Ball: Advanced Adventure (GBA)

Before the Z portion, the later half of Dragon Ball, there was, well Dragon Ball. There tend to be more DBZ games than just DB games, but if you want an above average DB game, you really ought to check out Advanced Adventure. The gameplay is of 2D action/beat 'em up fare and it spans nearly all of the original DB series, concluding at the defeat of the first Demon King Piccolo. There are some rock tunes in Advanced Adventure, but much of the music still fits the tone of early DB series.

The Siege of Muscle Tower - Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo (Wii)

Revenge of King Piccolo is an action game with beat 'em elements similar to Advanced Adventure. The big difference is, Revenge of King Piccolo anywhere near as good. Having said that, the game did give us a noteworthy soundtrack, with this piece being my personal standout.

Battle Theme #4: Challengers - Dragon Ball Z: Budokai (PS2, GCN)

Originally released on the PS2 in 2002 and later ported to the GCN in 2003, DBZ: Budokai was the first DBZ game released outside of Japan that could be considered good. Oh sure, it was no Soul Calibur or Street Fighter Alpha 3, but fans looking for a decent DBZ title could do a lot worse. The abridged story mode reenacted the the Saiyan Saga all the way through the Cell Saga and was a nice way for newbies to catch up on the story. Budokai also features a solid rock/techo soundtrack, even if some songs are blatant rip offs of existing music. I can never get enough of Challengers.

Mission: Make a New Legend - Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 (PS2)

Budokai 3, the last of the original Budokai series improved upon the first games in so many aspects that it arguably be considered the definitive DBZ gaming experience. All the characters from the first two games are present along with new fighters like movie and TV special baddies such as Cooler and Broly. The teleportation counter system managed to recreate the lightning fast speed from the anime. On top of that, the soundtrack was a rocking good time.

Kami's Lookout - Super Dragon Ball Z (PS2)

This is one of the more polarizing DBZ games. It certainly isn't a bad DBZ game by any means. On the contrary, it's a slick fighter with a well rounded selection of characters. It's probably more of a fighting game than a DBZ game and therein lies it's dividing nature. There are Super Saiyan transformations and flight but compared to the Budokai games, both of those features are extremely limited There's also a much smaller cast to choose from than the Budokai games, topping out at 18 fighters. Still, Super DBZ remains one of my favorite DBZ titles so it gets my highest recommendation. The music is far less rock based than the Budokai games but  that really isn't a bad thing. There's still plenty of high energy tracks as but if you're looking for something a bit more serene, you cannot beat Kami's Lookout.

Final Decisive Battle - Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit (PS3, 360)

I haven't played any of the HD DBZ titles, so I can't speak much for Burst Limit, gameplay wise. What I can tell you is that Burst Limit looks stunning and does a masterful job of recreating some of DBZ's most memorable moments, such as Goku's transformation into a Super Saiyan. This is the piece of music that plays as Super Saiyan Goku tears Freeza a new one.

Favorite Tunes Database