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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Great Gaming Weapons & Items Vol. 2

Where does he/she get those wonderful toys? From dropped mooks, fallen Robot Masters, "?" Blocks and a dozen other places, of course!. Video games have given us some of the best weapons and items to play around with, the likes of which would make 007 jealous. In this ongoing feature, we look at some of gaming's greatest.

Dagger - Ghosts 'n Goblins Series

In a game that throws hordes of enemies at you and doesn't let you take much in the way of damage before you perish, any weapon that kills the enemy quickly is going to be something you want in your arsenal. The Dagger (sometimes called a knife) is easily the best weapon in the game. The other weapons Arthur can pick up aren't horrible. They just suck mass booty in comparison to the awesome power that is the Dagger. The Torch sucks because if the fire from it is still burning, you can't throw another one, which leaves poor Arthur defenseless and as I'm sure you're already experienced, the baddies in these games don't have an ounce of mercy in their demonic bodies. The Dagger can be thrown fast and deals great damage to everything you come across. At least until you get to levels 5 and 6.

Magnet Beam - Mega Man (NES)

The original Mega Man game does not go easy on the player. Jumps must be made with the utmost precision and due to Mega Man's falling speed in this game, that can make reaching your destination harder that it should be at crucial moments. For this reason and due to the game's many sections of bottomless pits, the Magnet Beam is a life and stress saver. This nifty support item can be found in Elec Man's stage by either using the Super Arm or Thunder Beam weapons. The Magnet Beam creates platforms for our blue hero to walk on and the length of the platform is determined by how long you press the button. You can create several platforms on the screen at a time. You'll get some sprite flicker but its a small price to pay for staying out of harm's way.

Hookshot - Legend of Zelda Series

Batman always looked like he was having so much fun with his graples but I never understood how much he was enjoying himself until I discovered the Hookshot. This marvel of an item is surprisingly multi functional. The Hookshot is great for quick access across bottomless pits. It can stun enemies as well as snag items that from afar. In the Super Smash Bros. game, the Hookshot serves as another means for Link to grapple opponents and works well as another means of recovery so long as Link is near the edge of the stage.

Remote Control - Bomberman Series

Blowing stuff and people up in  video games is fun but when it comes to explosions in a Bomberman game, you want as much control over things going boom as you can get. The Remote Control item allows you to detonate your own bombs at the time of your choosing. You can surround some poor sap with a horde of bombs, press the trigger and watch the fireworks or let him/her sweat it out for a bit, seemingly giving them the chance to escape and just as they get in the clear, blow them to kingdom come. A bomb blast can trigger your Remote Control bombs to go off if the bombs from another player have blast long enough to reach them. On the flip side, if you plant one of your Remote Control bombs near an opponent's and they are trying to flee to safety, you can use your bombs to set their bombs off a whole lot sooner. You truly haven't lived until you've played a few rounds of Bomberman with this baby.

Aqua Shield - Sonic the Hedgehog Series

As I'm sure you've no doubt heard from anyone that has played a Sonic game, drowning sucks. That nerve wrecking countdown music, The pained expression Sonic makes as he dies from lack of oxygen; watery death in a Sonic game is just a painful experience for both Sonic and the player. The Aqua shield greatly diminishes the threat that underwater stages bring. Yeah, you can always look around for air bubbles in an underwater zone, but when an item lets you ignore what is arguably the biggest grievance that aquatic levels bring, you'd be a fool not to take it. The Aqua Shield also deflects smaller projectiles and gives Sonic an extra bounce in his jump. Obviously, this is also the only elemental shield that can be taken underwater.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Favorite Tunes #141: Spring Has Sprung

As of a week ago, spring has officially come. Though I can't tell because the weather here is being really fickle. Sometimes we get summer days, sometimes we get spring days and then when you least expect it, it decides to go all winter on us again. At least, that's the case for us here in Virginia. But since it is spring, I figured a spring inspired Favorite Tunes would be appropriate.

Shy But Deadly - Yoshi's Wooly World (Wii U)

If you're looking for a Yoshi game that's as good as or arguably surpasses the SNES clasic Yoshi's Island, you need to play Yoshi's Wooly World. Developed by Good Feel and a spiritual successor to Kirby's Epic Yarn, Wooly World has that classic Yoshi's Island gameplay but with a modern touch, full of creative level design. To get the most enjoyment out of the game. hunting down all the Flowers and Wonder Wool is a must.

Meadow Breeze - Kirby Mass Attack (DS)

Like Kirby's Canvas Curse, Kirby Mass Attack makes excellent use of the DS touch screen, controlling completely with the stylus. There is something undeniably cute about sending a little pink army to mercilessly slaughter enemies. The game's soundtrack was composed by Shogo Sakai, who worked on Kirby Air Ride and MOTHER 3 among other Nintendo games. The title theme to Mass Attack is so good you get to hear a remix of it on the first stage.

Windy Hill Zone Act 1 - Sonic Lost World (Wii U, 3DS)

"It isn't as fast as other Sonic games! Sonic sucks again!" OK, so Sonic Lost World was no Sonic Colors or Sonic Generations but it hardly sent the series back to Suckville as some would have you believe. If running around Act 1 of Windy Hill Zone while this music plays wasn't enough, you can send players flying off the stage to it in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

Charge - Phalanx (SNES)

What is there to be said about Phalanx? I mean, besides the fact that its a slightly above average shooter and the North American box art is criminally offensive. It has a decent power up system, some serviceable graphics and a soundtrack that, while isn't the best of the SNES pack, is one I'm quite fond of. What can I say, I'm a sucker, for generic, cheese rock.

Attack - Legends of Legaia (PS)

Legend of Legaia was the RPG I played while I waited for Final Fantasy VIII to drop later in 1999. The game's random encounter rate was like that of old-school RPGs but the martial arts combat system did help spice up battles.

Windy City - Breath of Fire III (PS)

It wouldn't be a Breath of Fire game without a Windia, which is of course, home to a version of our favorite series winged princess, Nina. In most games, Windia is given a gentle-sounding theme. In Breath of Fire III, we've got a theme that names you wanna kick back and relax.

Favorite Tunes Database

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Easy Mode Mockery Strikes Again

You know what game I'm all fired up to play? Freaking Star Fox Zero, baby! Developed by Platinum Games, Star Fox Zero sees the long, long awaited return of the beloved Star Fox franchise. I haven't been following the game too closely, but I have heard bits of news here and there and the latest info is why I'm here today. Star Fox Zero will feature an optional Invincibility Mode allowing less skilled players to experience the game. The hardcore gamer crowd of course, reacted as one would expect. Message boards and all forms of social media was lit up, Super Saiyan rage was unleashed and tables were flipped over. All I could do was let out an uncaring shrug.

I grew up in an era where games savagely, repeatedly beat the player over the head with a blunt object so I'm no stranger to games that go above and beyond to serve up a challenge. But when games give players adjustable difficulty settings or ways to make the game easier, it doesn't make my blood boil. Yet so many gamers are in an uproar over Star Fox Zero's optional Invincibility Mode. For the life of me, I cannot understand why. No one is holding a gun to these people's heads and forcing them to play Invincibility Mode. The fact that this mode is optional doesn't even matter to all the people throwing a hissy fit. The fact that the game even has Invincibility Mode at all is what has them seeing red.

I'm not really even surprised that Star Fox Zero comes with a mode that lets novice players experience the full game without the harshness that it sounds like the default setting is going to present to us in some areas. Nintendo has been implementing ways for lesser skilled players to see more and more of what their games offer for years. There's the Super Guide of the New Super Mario Bros. games, the White Tanooki Suit of the Super Mario 3D Land/World games and the Mellow Mode of Yoshi's Wooly World. The most these modes have ever done is annoy me at best. Not because they exist within the game because I'm perfectly fine with them being there. They annoy me when the game reminds me that they are there when I've failed so many times. I already know I have the choice of taking an easier route but I don't like to have it brought up after so many futile attempts.

If Splatoon had the option to choose from world wide or regional only online matches, I bet a good chunk of players would never battle with our friends in Japan. Why? Because a lot of Splatoon players from Japan are really frickin' good at the game. True the Japanese players have superb internet connection but even when the game doesn't lag and things are running smoothly, the skill of most Japanese Splatoon players is something to be feared. They are amazing when it comes to scoring kills, have exceptional team work, use motion controls like nobody's business and if a sniper spots you, you're already dead. You need only search the comment section of select Splatoon articles to find fans bemoaning how much it sucks to go up against players from the Land of the Rising Sun because of how much they excel at the art of wrecking others. In other words, the playing field would be much more leveled if the Japanese Splatoon fanbase could be cut out all together. You know, making the game easier for players not on the same skill level of the Japanese. Do you see the hypocrisy here?

To people crying about Star Fox Zero's optional
Invincibility Mode, take one of these and kindly STFU.

This may come as a shock to so many hardcore players but the truth is, a lot of people are playing video games these days and not all of them are of the same skill level. I'm am all for bringing in new blood to video game franchises and gaming as a whole and if one way of doing that is giving players that don't have the same skill set an easier option, then I'm not going to complain. It is, after all an option. But then, crying is also an option and for all the gamers claiming easy modes in games is for babies, they sure do a bang up job of behaving like an infant.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Favorite Tunes #140: Wild West

Apologies for the lack of posts last week. I had some urgent family matters that I had to attend to. But things are going well so I'd like to resume the regular blog post of at least getting a few posts up in one week.

Stage Desert - Smart Ball (SNES)

We've been having some warmer weather here in Virginia Beach as of late so a desert theme seems really appropriate. Besides, Smart Ball has some really good tunes behind those screwy controls. Would ya believe Game Freak made this game?

Western Land - Mario Party 2 (N64)

I haven't played a Mario Party game since the second one, but some would say the series has seen better days. The games aren't terrible but from my understanding, there's been somewhat of a fall from grace. At least the controls stopped giving players blisters after the first game and Yasunori Matsuda once again delivered the goods with a killer soundtrack.

Wild West - Final Fantasy VI (SNES)

How I mentioned how much I love Final Fantasy VI? Because I really love Final Fantasy VI. The story, the characters, the music, oh, the music! In this gamer's humble opinion, Final Fantasy VI is Nobuo Uematsu's magnum opus. This game is bursting with quality music from high profile tracks like Dancing Mad to more under-appreciated themes like Wild West (which plays on the Veldt).

The Decisive Battle - Arcana (SNES)

I used to listen to a ton of MIDI video game music back in the day/ MIDI covers to be precise. One such game that had a wealth of MIDI covers was Arcana and The Decisive Battle was a song that I would replay over and over. Years later I would hear the original SNES tracks and found out that Jun Ishikawa of Kirby fame, had a hand in writing this game's splendid soundtrack.

Realm Overworld - The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS)

If you thought Zelda II and Skyward Sword were the only games to cause fan uproar, you were either just born or just poked your head out of the sand. The DS Zelda games are quite divisive among Zelda fans. From the touch controls to the new gameplay features they introduced, one doesn't have to do much searching to find that opinions of Toon Links DS adventure can be quite mixed with Spirit Tracks getting the majority of the hate. This lovely theme from Toon Link's rail road days was given a superb remix for the 3DS and Wii U versions of Super Smash Bros.

M. Bison Stage - Street Fighter II (SNES ver.)

Mike Tyson had us throwing our controllers across the room in the 1980s. M. Bison had us doing it in the 1990s. The final boss of Street Fighter II was no push over. Be it the arcade or the home versions, M. Bison brought forth much frustration to any and everyone who challenged him.I think the SNES version of M. Bison's iconic stage theme turned out extremely well.

Favorite Tunes Database

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Memories #20: Batman Forever

Oh, Batman. You have no super powers, yet you're still one of the greatest of heroes. Your movies are (mostly) awesome, your cartoons are among the best in animation and do I even need to mention the comics? Yup, that covers everything. Batman is great on all fronts. Wait, I missed something didn't I? Oh, yeah the Bat games. Now a days we have really good Bat titles in game form with the exception of the occasional PC debacle, but the Dark Knight has had it really well in terms of video games over the past five years. Even in the 1980s and 1990s Batman was doing quite well on the gaming front. And then Acclaim stepped in.

Unlike a lot of kids, I grew up being exposed to more good licensed games than the ones that were awful. DuckTales, Chip 'N Dale: Rescue Rangers, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games, The Magical Quest Staring Mickey Mouse, you know, a lot of quality titles. True, I did play a few games that did not do the license justice like Back to the Future, but that wasn't enough to make me walk in the opposite direction of a game based on a licensed property. That all changed one weekend in 1995.

After Donkey Kong Country was released, the SNES proved that it still had staying power not just in terms of gameplay, but visually as well. This was good news for Nintendo since the N64 wouldn't release until late 1996 in America and Sony and SEGA were flashing their 32-bit consoles around. It pains me to admit I went through a brief period where I thought good graphics equaled an outstanding game. Such a faulty mentality is what got me to give the horrendous Rise of the Robots (another game by Acclaim, surprise, surprise) a look. I saw ads and TV spots for Batman Forever and I was really looking forward to this game. "The real game begins" these ads proclaimed and boasted of over 80 action packed stages and then there was of course, those 32 bit graphics. I'd like to say that my previous exposure to good Batman games was a reason I really wanted to play Batman Forever but in truth, the promise of a lengthy game and mindblowing graphics is what hooked me like a fish.

During one of my family's regular trips to Blockbuster Video, I was allowed two games to rent. Out of curiosity and my growing interest in RPGs, one of the games was Lufia & The Fortress of Doom. The other was the much anticipated Batman Forever. Of the two, I was most excited to play Batman Forever and I could not wait to get home and play this game. As a teenager, you're prone to making some pretty big mistakes. Getting a girl pregnant, wrecking your parent's car, or cheating on a test. Me, I rented Batman Forever.

Back then, nothing was worse than finding out the game you rented was gutter trash. It did not take long for me to realize that Batman Forever was an abysmal attempt at a Batman game. As a Mortal Kombat player, I was quick to catch on that some brilliant mind thought that the Mortal Kombat fighting engine would work well as a beat 'em up. From the way Batman and Robin stood to the moves they executed, Batman Forever was Mortal Kombat without Scorpion and company. Batman Forever may have used the Mortal Kombat fighting engine but it didn't have any of those gamesstyle. The action not only looked dull, it felt dull. Hitting opponents wasn't at all satisfying because every move you could do lacked any sort of omph or impact. Even the standard Mortal Kombat Uppercut was a disappointment.

The biggest offender to Batman Forever had to be the controls. There were instance where I'd walk into a room and see that there were places clearly meant for me to advance a floor up or below, but using the grappling hook was so frustrating. I would fiddle around with the buttons, use it and then accidentally switch it off. The SNES controller has so many buttons to work with and yet the game has to use some ridiculously complex method just to activate one of Batman's standard tools.

I turned the game off only to try it out again later with a good friend of mine, but he quickly came to the same conclusion I had: Batman Forever was hot garbage. Thankfully, Lufia & The Fortress of Doom made up for my decision to rent Batman Forever as I enjoyed that game immensely.

Though my time with Batman Forever was brief (very brief), it was like a really bad relationship in that it left a scar. Before Batman Forever, I had no problems with licensed games. Batman Forever changed that and made me especially bitter towards super hero games. It took the 2000 Spider-man video game to wash the horrible taste of Batman Forever out of my mouth.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Great Gaming Weapons & Items Vol. 1

Where does he/she get those wonderful toys? From dropped mooks, fallen Robot Masters, "?" Blocks and a dozen other places, of course!. Video games have given us some of the best weapons and items to play around with, the likes of which would make 007 jealous. In this ongoing feature, we look at some of gaming's greatest.

Metal Blade - Mega Man 2 (NES)

There are a number opponents you could choose to lay the smack down on first in Mega Man 2. But if you want to posses the game's ultimate weapon, you'll be a smart little metallic boy and kill Metal Man first. Metal Man's weapon, the Metal Blade is a weapon of mass destruction. You can throw three of them at once. They can be tossed in eight different directions, which is great since Mega Man can usually only fire in two directions. The Metal Blade doesn't consume much weapon energy, so it can be spammed. Not only does it reduce most of the regular enemies in the game to scrap metal, half of the Robot Masters are weak to it, including Metal Man himself. If there is a downside to the Metal Blade it would be that the thing is way too over powered to the point of making the other special weapons almost useless.

Hammer Suit - Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)

What could be better than throwing fireballs? Throwing highly destructive hammers, of course! Like actual Hammer Bros., the Hammer Suit allows Mario and Luigi to throw hammers in an arc. This does give you less range than the Fire Flower, but the Hammer Suit easily outclasses the Fire Flower in every other area. The hammers thrown pack quite the powerful punch, offing many of the enemies that the Fire Flower can't even damage like Boos, Thwomps, Dry Bones and even the king of all Koopas, Bowser. You'll lose your ability to slide down slopes, but the trade off in some highly protective armor thanks to the shell that makes you impervious to fire based attacks. Unfortunately Hammer Suits are in short supply and the game doesn't start granting you access to it until World 6, and from there on, hanging on to god-like abilities is pretty difficult.

Spiny Shell - Mario Kart Series

Also known as the Blue Shell, this is perhaps the ultimate destroyer of hopes and dreams. Once thrown, the Spiny Shell seeks out whomever is in the lead and deals out swift, often unavoidable punishment. An added bonus is that anyone in close enough to the racer in 1st will share the same terrible fate due to the Spiny Shell's wide blast radius. Yes, it truly does suck to be on the receiving end of a Blue Shell, but when you're the one throwing it? The rush of power, however brief, is exhilarating! Knowing that you completely and utterly wrecked someone's day feels unfathomably good. It might cost you a friendship or two but on the whole? Worth it.

Laptop Gun - Perfect Dark (N64, XB)

A gun dressed up as a standard laptop computer. That is cool in and of itself but the weapon not only sports a stylish, sleek design, but its a pretty useful weapon to have in your hands to boot. It's secondary function is that of a sentry that can be mounted on nearly any surface and given its rather quick rate of fire it can easily fill someone up with holes and make them stop existing. There's endless fun to be had with this bad boy in multiplayer mode.

Spread Gun - Contra Series

Moving from one gun to another, in a game like Contra where you're constantly under fire from all sides, having a weapon that can cover a wide range is something you won't want to pass up. While most other guns fire off in a straight line, range is the name of the game when it comes to the Spread Gun, shooting widely in five directions at once. The damage output on the Spread is also quite high, which can make taking out multiple stronger targets a breeze and in a tough as nails franchise like Contra, you need all the help you can get. Don't even think twice about sacrificing your friend's life if you have to to get one of these. The loss will not have been in vain.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Favorite Tunes #139: Cerulean City

We're fast approaching the 150th edition of Favorite Tunes. Video game music is something I've been enamored with since the late '80s so I'm always happy to share a few gaming tracks I adore each week in this feature. This week features music from Splatoon, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and that indie PC game no one can stop talking about, Undertale.

Another Medium - Undertale (PC)

What's this? Undertale music cropping up again? It still hasn't been featured as many times as the music from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but since the music from Undertale is so good, you can look forward to it showing up frequently. Since the random encounter rate in the game isn't that high it allows you to better take in the game's soundtrack.

Tentacular Circus - Splatoon (Wii U)

Are you one of those Squids that hasn't touched Splatoon's single player campaign? I recommend giving it a go. Not only is it good for players that are just starting out, but this mode is also the way certain pieces of gear can be unlocked. This mode is also home to some pretty sick beats. Kinda wish we could hear these in the online multiplayer mode.

Cerulean City - Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver (DS)

One of my all-time favorite tracks from Gen I was enhanced in Gen II. It was enhanced even more in the DS remakes HeartGold/SoulSilver. I don't see how anyone could dislike this them. Its such a bouncy, jovial piece of music.

Bramble Blast - Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

Its floaty and has tripping. Just a few of the reasons gamers will toss out as to why Brawl sucks and Melee is the best Smash evar!!! I certainly wasn't a fan of tripping but Brawl was one of my most played Wii games. It increased my love for Toon Link and the soundtrack still makes my ears hum. Much thanks to Sakurai for including a good chunk of Brawl's music in Smash 4.

Brave or Grave - Street Fighter Alpha 3 (Multi)

If ever there was a boss that inspired rage quit it would have to be M. Bison. If you didn't grow up in the '90s, this dictator has been a thorn in the side of many a Street Fighter II player. I thought he couldn't get any tougher but then his Alpha 3 incarnation came along and with him, a screen clearing Psycho Crusher. On the up side, he still knows what's up with those final boss themes.

Opening - Mega Man 8 (PS, SAT)

Mega Man came to the 32-bit era of gaming in style. And with horrific voice acting. Fans tend to be quite divided on Mega Man 8, but I'm among the lot that likes to defend this game. The following the Capcom logo is a beautiful anime cut scene with a rocking jam. The Japanese version has Electrical Communication, which isn't bad by any means, but I've always found this tune more fitting.

Favorite Tunes Database

Friday, March 4, 2016

Holding Off on Greatness: Why I Haven't Bought a PS4 Yet

Sony's fourth home console, unsurprisingly named the PlayStation 4, launched in November 2013 and has already sold over 35 million units world wide. That's pretty impressive for an eighth generation console that isn't even four years old. "Greatness awaits" was the original PS4 tagline. Well, for this game, its still waiting because I've yet to buy a PS4.

"You don't have a PS4?! Dude! Everyone has a PS4! How can you not have a PS4 in 2016?!"

Well, the short answer to that is that, I just don't. The long answer is a bit more complicated.

When the PS4 launched over two years ago, I saw an overabundance of PS3 games being ported to the system. It was as if publishers weren't sure about the system, despite the fact the PS4 is much easier to develop for than the PS3 was. $400 is far too much to pay for upscale ports. I could honestly care less if The Last of Us looks slightly better on the PS4 than it did the PS3. Not only that, but I didn't see any games that demanded that I run out and buy Sony's latest machine. I was also a few weeks off from having the cash to even purchase a PS4 but when the cash did come around (more on that in a bit) I still passed on the system.

It should be obvious to anyone that has read this blog for a while  that I'm a Nintendo fan. That being said, I didn't pick up a Wii U at launch for pretty much the same reasons I gave the PS4 a skip. For most of 2013, I didn't see much in the way of games. Then the second trailer for Super Mario 3D World came out and I was foaming at the mouth. When December 31st of 2013 rolled around, I picked up a Wii U and a PS3. I have different cases to present for why I purchased both systems.

As I stated, Super Mario 3D World was a must have game and it has gone on to be one of my all-time favorites. 2014 also saw the release of some of the system's best games like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Bayonetta 2, Hyrule Warriors, Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros.

I picked up a PS3 because the system already had a slew of games I'd been dying to play for years. The LittleBig Planet games had always intrigued me and while the PS3 and 360 shared a lot of the same titles, I went with the PS3 because of the two, I figured it would be the system less likely to crap out on me. Plus, I've been a PlayStation gamer since the late 1990s.

Before I even purchased a PS3, I started to amass a library of games for the console and since games are for the most part, chump change, catching up (purchase wise) is really easy. Over the past month, I added Grand Theft Auto V, The Sly Collection, Devil May Cry HD Collection, God of War Saga, The Jak and Daxter Collection, Dragon Ball Xenoverse and Transformers: Devastation to my PS3 game pile. At the rate I'm going, my PS3 games may some day rival my PS2 collection (more than 90 games for that bad boy).

I currently have a lot on my video game table for the foreseeable future. Between the PS3, Wii U and 3DS, I'm not starved for games. With everything I've got going on with all three of those, I personally don't think I should pick up another game console right now. That and, there isn't really a lot of PS4 games that I want. Greatness can wait another day.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Mega Man 4 Remade

RushJet1 is at it again. Having arranged the NES versions of Mega Man 1-3 and the GB version of Mega Man II, we now have Mega Man 4 Remade, which is, like the previous four albums, a chiptune arrangement of Mega Man 4's music. Man, that cover is awesome!

Despite Mega Man 4 using a sound font that makes the quality sound tinier compared to other games on the NES, it still houses some of my favorite Mega Man tracks so I was pleased to see RushJet give it the same treatment that he has his other Remade alums. While the bulk of the music of this game is based off the NES version of Mega Man 4, Mega Man IV on the GB also gets some much deserved appreciation here. The sick arrangement of MMIV's boss theme is included alongside that of MM4, making for a pulse pounding boss jam. Dr. Cossack Stage 1 and 2 have two separate arranged tracks and Mega Man Killer No. 3, Ballade has his theme arranged as Dr. Wily Stage 4. Sadly, that killer Dr. Wily Stage Boss from MMIV didn't make it in, but I guess you can't have everything.

Mega Man 4 Remade is available digitally as a name your price download or you can pay $10 for a physical copy. With album art like that, who wouldn't want to own a physical release of this baby? Dr. Cossack and the squad are looking on point.

Mega Man 4 Remade

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Favorite Tunes #138: Train On

On November 27, 1996, a little Game Boy game called Pokemon debuted in Japan. 20 years later, the franchise is larger than life. This Favorite Tunes is dedicated to Pokemon and Pokemon trainers all around the world. Train on.

Pallet Town - Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow (GB)

Talk about humble beginnings. The first entry in what is now a juggernaut franchise has some super simple graphics, even by 1996/1998 standards. But beneath all that is a game that is incredibly fun and addicting. I should know because after buying Pokemon Blue off the eShop, I've had a tough time putting it down. Your in game persona's home time is a delightfully pleasant theme that I love best in it's chiptune form.

Battle! Wild Pokemon (Johto) - Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal (GBC)

As great as Pokemon Gen I's music was (some of the best chiptunes imaginable) Gen II's just might one up it. The overall sound quality of Pokemon Gold/Silver seems to be enhanced from the original game resulting arranged themes feeling more fleshed out. The new music is also pretty catchy. If I had to list my favorite of all the Wild Pokemon Battle themes, it would be this one.

Lake - Pokemon Diamond/Pearl (DS)

Sometimes you gotta take a break from all the battling and just unwind, relax, kick your feet up. Much as I love the battle themes of Pokemon (as evidenced by the number of themes that cover battling), I do enjoy me some chill music, too.

Battle! (Elite Four) - Pokemon Black/White (DS)

The Elite Four are a group of Pokemon Trainers in every generation of Pokemon games that do not screw around. In Black/White they are especially formidable. If you have the idiocy to approach them unprepared, they will send you running to the Pokemon Center faster than Taco Bell puts you on the can. You know you're in for a serious fight when you hear this theme.

Lumiose City - Pokemon X/Y (3DS)

Gen VI of the main Pokemon games. Among X/Y's new features are Mega Evolution which only certain Pokemon like Mewtwo, Charizard and Banette can gain access to. Don't let any haters convince you that the music in X/Y is inferior to the previous generations because it has a modern flair to it. Be it the battles, route or town themes, this game has some very memorable music.

Battle! Champion (Kanto) Pokemon Black2/White2 (DS)

We're going back in time with this one. Well, sorta. The final battle in Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow is one of the toughest in the game and it has one of the most iconic pieces of music to go with it. While I don't think this one trumps the original, its still a very solid effort.

Favorite Tunes Database

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Outstanding Openers Vol. 3

Not every game immediately thrusts you into the gameplay. While its common place to have some kind of introduction scene in games these days, even before the HD era, we had games that took a bit of time to provide some plot before placing you in control. Outstanding Openers centers around intros that managed to grab my attention, make my jaw drop or say, "Wow, that was neat." Just click on the title of the game to see the opening unfold.

Super Street Fighter II (ARC)

Flames are like the word "Super" add it to the front of something and it just sounds a whole lot cooler. While I do feel the best of the Street Fighter II games is Street Fighter II': Hyper Fighting, I must give credit where credit is due, SSFII introduced new moves, four new characters and one of the most badawesome intros in a fighting game. The poster boy of the Street Fighter series, Ryu is looking like a total boss as the screen flashes. He charges up a Hadoken that is followed up by literally an electrifying title drop. I still get hyped watching this brief opener.

Super Metroid (SNES)

Did you miss out on the previous two Metroid entries? Don't sweat it. Super Metroid fills you in on the story elements of the last two games, bringing you up to speed on how we arrived to the point we are in Super Metroid. Samus would have saved herself a world of trouble if she had killed that last baby Metroid in Metroid II. But that same Metroid ends up saving Samus' life not once, but twice over. This opener isn't really action packed, but is more text heavy and story driven. The plot of Super Metroid isn't overly complicated but seeing as how some games have stories that get too convoluted for their own good, I really like the simplicity of this one.

Mega Man 8 (PS, SAT)

Mega Man seems to be popping up a lot in this series, doesn't he? What can I say, the blue robot really knows how to hook me with his intros. Mega Man 8 opens up with a high octane anime cutscene showcasing Mega Man taking on Robot Masters from the first seven Mega Man games. We'd have killed for a Mega Man anime series like this. That is, until Mega Man opened his mouth. Thankfully, we're spared actually voice work in this flash first opening sequence. In the second one that gives us some of the plot, we're not so lucky.

Tekken 2 (PS)

The first Tekken game I ever played and the one that really got me take notice of the series and the boom of 3D fighters. Everyone has their reasons for entering the tournament in Tekken 2. King needs to get out of his drunken slump, Michelle seeks her mother's kidnapper. Heihachi is seriously peeved at his son Kazuya for dropping him off a cliff and wants revenge, This intro is exclusive to the PlayStation version of Tekken 2. This won't be the last time the Tekken games pop up in this feature.

Parasite Eve (PS)

Billed as "the cinematic RPG", Parasite Eve is loaded with cut scenes across this three disc Resident Evil meets RPG title. The opening is one that uses different scenes from the game all rolled into a spiffy intro to get you jazzed up to play the game, Throw in a sweet music number by Yoko Shimomura and consider my attention got.