#1 TIE "Vela Nova" and "Wrapped in Black" from Sonic Rush
It should have been a tie between the entire Sonic Rush OST
It could have easily been a ten way tie for how much I love this soundtrack. I will refrain from such shenanigans though, and simply include the two tracks I think most exemplify Hideki Naganuma's Sonic Rush soundtrack
As if it were an answer to my prayers, after the beginning of my search for more Hideki Naganuma, the game Sonic Rush is released to the Nintendo DS in 2005. The soundtrack, is, of course, by Hideki Naganuma, and the beats he was pumping through my DS speakers left me in amazement. If it weren't for Meteos on the DS earlier that year, I would have had no idea that the DS was capable of such sounds.
Sonic Rush (the soundtrack and the game) were both phenomenal. Not only did Dimps nail my idea of what a Sonic game is all about (going fast), but the music by Hideki Naganuma was simultaneously a breath of fresh air for the series, and also very much in line with Sonic's colorful world.
This one starts off slow but builds into an upbeat dance mix perfectly fitting when speeding your way through endless loops, raills and corridors. Wait a minute, with the rail grinding, ability to do tricks, and epic Naganuma beats, is Sonic Rush actually a 2D Jet Set Radio!?
I'm a little shocked I didn't see all the similarities to Sonic Rush and Jet Set Radio before, but now it's too obvious to deny. That probably explains why i think Sonic Rush is the most definitive Sonic experience since Sonic The Hedgehog 2.
This closing track makes a strong testament to the greatness of any quality Sonic game though, the epic Supersonic ending. That intense final sequence in Sonic Rush is accompanied by the track "Wrapped in Black."
If hard pressed, I would choose Wrapped in Black as the go to track from the album, but a lot of what makes it great is the dark contrast of this music compared to the soulful and upbeat playfulness of the rest of the soundtrack.
If you missed it, check out the full countdown!
Do you enjoy these music countdowns and celebration weeks? tell us in the comments or @genoboost on Twitter.
Looking back on 10 years since Sega's Puyo Pop Fever.
It's no secret that I love the Puyo Puyo series. After I was fooled into believing it was a Kirby game back on the SNES, I fell in love with the frenetic pace of the Puyo series (Known stateside as Kirby's Avalanche at the time).
Little did I know that some ten years later I would get an explosively colorful new iteration of the game by Sonic Team, back when those words meant something. This time, Puyo Puyo retained most of it's original name as Puyo Pop Fever when it was released for the Nintendo DS on May 3rd, 2005. Even littler did I know that this would be the final Puyo game in the US ever since.
There have been plenty of Puyo games since 2005 by the way. I've imported a few of them. Unlike the incredibly niche audience the game has garnered in the west, Japan has celebrated the 15th and 20th anniversaries of the series with robust new outings. Recently Japan received a fusion of Puyo Puyo Fever and Tetris in one strange colorful package. I am still waiting for prices to drop a tad before I import that one. Why a floundering Sega refuses to port a ready made puzzler to the US market is hard to fathom, especially in a world now replete with downloadable puzzle offerings. Unfortunately, the consistent incompetence of Sega is movie worthy, so I won't get into it here.
As the Dreamcast slowly faded away, and with it the dreams of many gamers who fell in love with DC Sega games such as Jet Grind Radio, Chu Chu Rocket, and Space Channel 5. I think that the final game to escape that era of Sega and into the wild is the Puyo series re-imagining Puyo Pop Fever. The bright and colorful cast fits right in next to the protagonists of the aforementioned series. To drive the point home about this being the end of an era, The Dreamcast release of Puyo Pop Fever (Puyo Puyo Fever in Japan) was also the final Dreamcast game created by Sonic Team.
Pour a little out for the Dreamcast.
As Sega's star fell, Puyo Pop Fever found itself ported to practically every system available in Japan at the time. Out of about a dozen different platforms, only the Gamecube and DS versions found themselves a release outside Japan. In fact, unlike the Sega published Gamecube release in 2004, the DS version of Puyo Pop Fever was published nearly a year later by Atlus.
I often wonder if this game had come out, perhaps three years earlier, at the height of the Dreamcast, would it have found the same niche audience that loves the Sega games of the era?
Did you ever have the chance to play any version of the long running Puyo Puyo franchise? Do you think Sega should release another Puyo game outside of Japan?
It's not often I run across some unbelievable fan art for the niche handheld series Advance Wars. Today is unlike those many other days though, as I have recently come across the online portfolio of one Joe Sparrow, and besides the cool name that would fit right into an Advance Wars title, Joe has also created some fantastic artwork of CO Lash of the Black Hole Army.
You can grab the very first Advance Wars on the Virtual Console for Wii U right now by the way!
UPDATE: Looks like just before this post went up, there are two more songs to check out via the same link below. Music from Nintendogs and a Mega Man Medley.
Recently Masahiro Sakurai has updated the 3DS home for Super Smash Bros, revealing the music and composers for several themes in the game. There is an original arrangement "Multi-Man Smash" by beloved Katamari Damacy composer Yoshihito Yano.
There are also two remixes from relatively recent Nintendo games, a rocking Pokemon battle theme rearrangement by the well traveled composer Yuzo Koshiro, as well as the track below. Full Steam Ahead is a personal favorite of mine, and made all the sweeter by knowing that Wild Arms composer Michiko Naruke is behind it.
Square-Enix Composer Takeharu Ishimoto has been posting a variety of live remixes from his soundtrack to The World Ends With You. There are also a smattering of other songs spread through out.
I was a big fan of a lot of the things that The World Ends With You brought to the table. A fast-paced modern day RPG with a distinct look, and even more distinct sound. That sound is thanks to Ishimoto's uptempo fusion of rock and techno. This is even more distinct in a well-recorded live setting.
It's hard to believe that the game came out all the way back in 2008. Battle system wise, I don't think any RPG has matched it since. This game was very unique and made the most of the dual screen technology of the DS. Considering the layout of the 3DS, it's hard to believe that if this game does get a true sequel, the gameplay will look similar to the original. I do hope that the crew gets back together and does another game with a similar style, but let this title rest with it's incredible and unique style of gameplay. What happened to spiritual successors in video games?
After four days, these are the first words I am typing (not really, I had to edit them, but it was true in the rough draft). I tend to write far more often than never, as you might imagine. So why did production come to a stop? Pokemon of course! It's always the Pokemon (except when it's SimCity or Rune Factory or Advance Wars or...). It has all been so dark the past few days. I am writing this now, as if I woke up from a drug binge, or am recovering from some debilitating illness. For several days the most important thoughts in my mind sounded something like, “Do I really need another dragon type on my team? Maybe one that could learn a fighting attack. Although if I can bring in a dual type fighting/lightning, then I can switch out my Eelektross for my Gallade and have two fighting types. Are there any fighting/lightning types? Better do some research...”
I remember last playing Pokemon White months ago when it had first been released. I defeated the Elite Four, saved all the Pokemon from Team Plasma, and then some. I didn't accomplish everything though. A Pokemon Trainer's work is never done. I moved on to fresher gaming pastures relatively soon after defeating Pokemon White, and was free from its spell. At least, until a few days ago.
It all began when I was feeling particularly ill one morning. Too sick to climb out of bed and hop on the computer. Too withered away to even stare at the television. I slowly rolled over, and in the darkness I could see the dim blue power light of my trusty DS by my bedside. I reached out for it, and suddenly the bright glow and rocking bicycle music of Pokemon White lit up the room. I lied in bed and began playing. It took a moment to get a grip on where I was in the Unova region, and what I had yet to accomplish. Suddenly the original time with the game began to flood back in. I was raising a new team. I had eggs to hatch. I had battles to fight. I had to buy some revival herbs. I had to play Pokemon. In an instant I had become entangled in the six hundred and forty-nine tentacles of the latest Pokemon game.
I have tried to 'catch them all' on several non consecutive occasions. Each time I placed a Pokemon cartridge into the current portable Nintendo system that is currently on the market, I have been consumed by it. There was the classic red, and many a tale can be told of that, then there was my return to a world long forgotten when I bought Pokemon Diamond. This journey into the land of Unova marks the third time I have devolved into a blithering PokeManiac.
Friends were abandoned, responsibilities shirked, and thoughts of non Pokemon related events dropped to an all time low. Any responsibility that couldn't be avoided, was done methodically, and in a way to incorporate the most repetitious aspects of Pokemon. Chores like laundry and eating became tests in multitasking. Tests I often failed as my food often went cold and/or uneaten. Although, I'll mention that my shirts came out as colorful as ever, in case you were worried about the laundry.
My mind easily made the transition back into the daily routine of things. I hit up Amanita on her PC and grabbed the Pokemon I wanted. I stopped by all the daily events, read the animated sign between routes to search for Pokemon, and fumbled my way through a handful of battles. With my reintroduction to the games mechanics now over, it was time to be the very best.
Like being the best at many other things, it all began with some research. I pulled up Bulbapedia by typing the name of a random Pokemon into Google. Soon my browser was bursting at the seams with tabs of innumerable varieties of Pokemon, along with move descriptions, abilities, and a few random maps of Unova. My Pokemon fueled Euphoria left little time for anything else. Days were spent searching for the perfect group of fighters, though I didn't EV train them, because that is a load of BS. My days were divided between reading, training, battling, hatching, raising, and outfitting a ragtag team of fighters culled over generations of Pokemon games. As epic as that all sounds, it actually comes down to pressing the same sequence of buttons repeatedly for a few hours. There is nothing quite like the thrill of holding the up button for ten seconds, followed by pushing the down button for another ten seconds.
When a game requires a heavy dose of repetition, and then I do what is required, over and over, I forget whether I am actually enjoying the game or not. I am still playing it, sure. I can't stop playing it. Am I enjoying playing it though? It's difficult to quantify, to say the least. There are enormous lulls in the action that can be a chore, but at the same time, destroying someone with a team of Pokemon you raised yourself is definitely gratifying. Of course, you do lose sometimes, and that isn't fun either.
A weeks worth of writing was lost to these pocket monsters. Not to mention hours of playing Driver: San Francisco, and Kirby's Mass Attack, two articles I should have presented you fine readers with some time ago. Even at work I was pulling up the PokeDroid app on my phone and imagining other great teams I could build after the one I was currently raising. All the while in the back of my head, I was well assured that putting this much effort into the game is a complete waste of time and resources. Despite such notions, I continued to flip open my DS at every opportunity and grind my way to the top. Through the years I have learned that my mind can focus on one subject or game with an unquenchable obsession. It's nice when that obsession is the intricacies of medical science, but not so much when it is the variability of stats in imaginary creatures who are born with different natural moods and abilities.
Unlike other addictive games like Animal Crossing or Harvest Moon, there is a real passion that comes with Pokemon. It's something I can feel proud of, not like how many fish I've caught, or how many tomatoes I've planted (although I am proud of that stuff too). Simply put, a desire to be the greatest. To be a Pokemon Master. The slogan is "Gotta catch 'em all!" not "Gotta catch most of 'em!" A nerd lives and dies by the Pokemon team he raises. I didn't hide a Gameboy in my backpack, and risk having it confiscated by a teacher while I battled opponents during lunch just to send out a level 28 Exeggcute. Unacceptable. A team consisted of six Pokemon, always including the one I started the game with (I always go with Grass starter, if you must know). These Pokemon would go on to be a well-rounded and unstoppable force I captured, trained, and traveled alongside, and nothing could stop us. Not Team Rocket, nor the Elite Four, or even the most powerful Pokemon in Kanto. I'm not sure if these feelings I have stem from a healthy viewing of the anime along with the original games, or just my own brain filling in the blanks of another sporadic storyline. What I do know is that in 1996, Satoshi Tajiri and his company Game Freak, alongside Nintendo, combined to release a powerful combination of collecting, trading, and battling that has yet to stop being compelling fifteen years and several portable game systems later. Not even in pinball or toy form.
Luckily (at least in this case), the force of my obsession is tempered by the finding of new things to feel passionately about. So I have since pulled myself from the intoxicating beast that is the Pokemon franchise. At least long enough to write this article. The Pokemon team I trained still remains between the levels of sixty and ninety. There are many an unhatched egg sitting in Amanita's PC. Not to mention, my Pokedex is far from full, even the regional one has some gaps in it. It may stay that way for a while, but likely not forever. The siren song of Pokemon is always singing seductively in my ear. Hopefully I can maintain my sanity long enough to fight through the deluge of releases over the winter months. Though, depending on the level of content in Pokemon Rumble Blast (Editors Note: I did get hooked, and PRB is currently the game with the third highest rate of hours played on my 3DS. Pokemon White sits at #2 by the way. ), I may find myself once again enamored by the hundreds of beasts that we call Pokemon. I hope I can get a few more articles written before then.
Just watch that video up above! All done? Alright, I have just gotten word from Jake 'virt' Kaufman that this amazing soundtrack is available to download right now over at the official page at Big Lion Music. The album consists of the 29 tracks from the upcoming WayForward game Shantae: Risky's Revenge, as well as an extra special bonus remix, rounding out the album to 30 tracks and an hour of catchy dance tunes.
I hope to give a full review on the album soon, but for now I just want to tell everyone of this breaking news, as well as remind everyone to prepare to download the brand new chapter in Shantae's adventures on the DSi this October 4th. Judging by the amazing WayForward games of the past, and the dedication these developers have shown to Shantae, this highly anticipated sequel is sure to please any and all fans of classic platforming action!
Well, it looks like another huge step for pixelh8, as well as chiptune performers all around the globe. Pixelh8 has released Music Tech Pro Performer V1.0 for the DS/GBA at his official website at hiddenyouthrecords.co.uk/properformer. The cartridge goes for the price of "£30.00 GBP + £5.00 International
Recorded 1st Class Shipping." As always, I have no idea how that translates to US dollars, but anyway, I imagine it's quite a reasonable price for all the sweat and labor Pixelh8 has poured into this amazing piece of homebrew technology. So head over to his site, and grab one for yourself, since I am sure they are in limited supply and shall go fast. Also, hit up Pixelh8's myspace page and send some thanks and congratulations his way! He certainly deserves it!
Also, if you grab this awesome music homebrew, be sure to see who is in the credits! =D
A short time after his first two video installments, Pixelh8 has released his third in a three part series of youtube shorts explaining many of the features of the Music Tech Pro Performer. This third installment has less talk on pixelh8's part but continues to do a fine job showing off the software, which will be released for the GBA/DS. And even though these videos show off many amazing features, Pixelh8 tells me that there are many more, but they are hidden, and you'll have to discover them for yourself! And remember, you can find more info at Pixelh8's official website.
He's a programmer, he's a musician, you know him as Pixelh8. Well pixelh8 has programmed his way into the hearts of chiptuners everywhere with his latest software, the Music Tech Pro Performer, the software sequel to his quite successful Music Tech program for the original GameBoy. This version steps it up to the DS/GBA, and makes some amazing use of the expanded memory of the portable machines. Pixelh8 has added tons of new features which he was unable to implement in his original software. You can check out his youtube diary videos below for all the amazing new features! People in the know have probably seen the first video, which was released a few weeks ago, but today Pixelh8 has uploaded part two of his software documentary to hungry eyes. Enjoy both videos, and for more info, be sure to check out Pixelh8's website, and join his mailing list to keep up to date!
Virt, chiptunist, creator of VGMix, and all around creator of things most awesome, has been tapped to create the music to forthcoming DS title Contra 4. Not too much is known about the title yet, except that it will be in the old 2D contra style, and is being created by WayForward. The developers behind a personal favorite of mine, Sigma Star Saga. As for what the music may sound like, check this mp3 of Contravirt for reference.
I have decided to post a review I did recently for the game Lunar Knights for the Nintendo DS, It is the first review I have ever done for a game. I did not include a score because I feel like giving it a score takes away from the actual review of the game. Let me know what you think, and I hope you enjoy it!
Lunar Knights is a 3/4 perspective dungeon crawling hack and slash from Konami and Kojima Studios. It is basically a straight up dungeon crawler, but with several twists that I believe add alot of fun and strategy to the game. The game starts you off with Lucian the Swordsman, who is, of course, the brooding loner, as he infiltrates a vampire's hideout, this stage is basically a tutorial that gets you acquainted with the basic mechanics and controls of the game. The second chapter of the game gets you acquainted with the second main character Aaron, who is a gunslinger, and teaches you more basics about the game such as sneaking and Mic control. Once you get past the characters individual levels the game really kicks off.
Switching between characters and elements is easy with the control set-up the game gives you. The 3/4 view can be a bit confusing at times, but the control options give you a way to try and manage it easier. Attacking is a straightforward process of tapping on the Y button, while blocking is handled by B. You will be using blocking quite frequently as you get further into the game. Switching characters is mapped to the select button, which is a bit clumsy to handle on the DS Lite but works well on the DS Phat. The Touch screen comes into play during specials which give you on screen instructions to execute powerful specials as well as during space battle in which you steer and shoot with the Stylus. The space battles would have been more fun in my opinion if steering was regulated to the D-pad, and shooting to the stylus, but the space battles are fun none the less. The Mic also comes into play, When your elemental lights up it can deliver a status boost or back up attack when you blow into the Mic. The Mic is also used during sneaking segments, you blow into the Mic and your character lets out a whistle to lure the enemy to that spot allowing you to slyly sneak past. All in all the controls are intuitive and do not take you out of the game.
The graphics and production value are some of the best I have seen on the DS, and for a third party game pretty much put all other third party games to shame. The game kicks off with a lengthy anime intro with some amazing music. Cut scenes are numerous and sprinkled throughout the game, which adds a nice touch and gives the characters more depth and feel. The in game graphics are well animated and move smoothly, even when there are many enemies on screen as well as many other things going on the frame rate never slows down. One problem is that many enemies are palette swaps making them fairly uninteresting by the end of the game. The game uses very well rendered 3D graphics for the space shooting mini game and sports a polished yet very different look from the main game. The graphics are great for the DS and it's amazing how many cut scenes they pack into this game.
The sound is incredible, most characters have several spoken phrases and most NPCs have some as well. The music is very catchy and high quality, and the cut scenes also have a lot of dialogue and great sound. Lots of things like sword swings and footsteps also have different sounds in different environments, which adds well to getting really into the game. If you are a person who is easily annoyed by hearing a character say the same phrases over and over you may not care at all for the in game voice overs though. So to sum it up the music is top-notch, the sound effects are done well for a DS game, but still do not sound overly realistic, and the voice acting can get on ones nerves easily if you are the sort of person who is annoyed by that.
The most important aspect of the game of course, and definitely the aspect in which it delivers most! The game is fun to play, especially as you pick up more weapons such as the homing missile gun, and scythe which are very different from other weapons and add a nice variety to your strategy. The elements system that the game incorporates also adds more depth to one's strategy, in different weather and at different times of day certain elements become more powerful while some become far weaker. The game has a nice length of 10-15 hours (took me 18, but I am slow). There is quite a lot of replay value to the game though, upon completion of the game, you unlock hard mode, as well as a PLUS game which let's you start from the beginning with all weapons, money, and items intact. Also in PLUS mode you unlock Boss Rush mode as well as the epilogue Tower, which has you climbing a 100 level building riddled with enemies. If that isn't enough there is also a wireless battle mode which is up to four players on one card. There are also a couple side missions within the main game that will keep you busy, as well as trying to collect all the items. The gameplay definitely delivers in this game, and combined with all the other great qualities of Graphics, Sound, and Controls leaves one with a very memorable gaming experience.
The game is not strikingly new, but takes the old dungeon crawling formula and adds enough tweaks, production values and extras to make it stand out very well amongst all the other major DS titles. Unless you have a major problem with dungeon crawling adventures I highly recommend this game to all DS owners. Konami is definitely on to something with their vampire killing games for the DS! Basically Konami + vampires = great DS game
Recently released in Japan, Hiite Utaeru DS Guitar M-06 is not so much a game, but turns your DS into an acoustic guitar! Curious on how it works? Head over to Youtube to see a short video giving the game a review. The minus side however, there is no saving of any song you might create.
However, Ubisoft has picked up the American license for this game, and will be released in June of '07. The American version will contain a save feature, and will be under the title "Jam Session." This is great news for those musicians out there who might think of a quick tune on the go! Not to mention being able to play the DS at your next gig!
Well I posted a while back about how my DS Lite got a crack in the hinge like oh so many people complained about back before the new internet scare of killer Wii remotes. Well I never returned it since I felt like the cracked hinge was not too big of a deal as long as it didn't bring about more complications. Well sorry to say, but complications arose. The hinge cracked. Strange thing is, it was the opposite hinge. That's right, the hinge without any visible crack just BROKE RIGHT OFF. Needless to say I was aghast. I was just shutting the DS case to set it to sleep mode after a rousing go at Castlevania Portrait of Ruin and as I shut it I heard a cracking noise. I quickly reopen my DS to find the top half limp and frail. A ghost of it's former glory.
The small upside to this horror story is the fact that I still have my one year warranty for my DS Lite. Also I still own my red DS Phat so I can finish my slight Castlevania addiction of late.
Check out the pictures and cringe at the hideousness.
Brand new interview with The Kode up now! It’s a very interesting interview with three members of the Boston based band. Check it out!
For owners of the new DS Lite, has your hinge got a crack in it? mine does.
Nintendo of America, and Nintendo of Europe have both agreed to fix the defect in the DS Lites free of charge, just contact Nintendo’s customer service.
Betamod has some new forums up that they just started, and are hankering for some members. check it out at http://betamod.com/forum/.
Band Totally Radd!! have added a new song to their site, Here is what they have to say, “It's been a long time in the making, but we've finally put a brand new song on our profile!
The song is called Cold Moonlight and features the beautiful vocals of Juliette Commagere of Hello Stranger (formerly Vagenius).
Keep an eye on our page, as we'll be posting a couple more brand new ones for your earballs in the next few days.”
Also, I just had to mention something I am very excited about. From Behemoth, the independent creators of Alien Hominid, comes Castle Crashers, a game they recently announced that is coming to Xbox Live Arcade. I loved Alien Hominid, and this game looks to be every bit as amazing.
Gamewave Podcast have their second show up now, definitely check them out. and if you have iTunes be sure to subscribe to it.
Free Fourth of July show Stars and Bits Forever in Brooklyn, New York. Starring Random, Mark Denardo, and Anamanaguchi.
Armcannon Also has some new shows coming up in New York on July 14th and 29th. Armcannon, as well as TypeA have some new shirt designs for sale as well. With Armcannon’s shirt going for $10 at shows and online store sales coming soon afterwards. TypeA’s shirts will be selling for $15 and must be contacted for purchases.
(Armcannon and TypeA t-shirt designs)
X Unit 17 has four all new video game remixes up including a personal favorite of mine, the battle theme from Golden Sun. Also songs from Mega Man X, X2 and 5. Moogle Charm has released a new song you can download entitled The Hare and Hounds.
In more touring news, Nintendo has decided to take their newest handheld, the DS Lite on the road, you can found out more information at Nintendo’s Official site.
Chiptune artist Animal Syle has been featured on fxdoctor.com for his 8 Bit Fuzz Pedal mod, just head on over to fxdoctor.com, go to Feature Artists and check out Joey Mariano.
Temp Sound Solutions is running one sweet deal right now. Here’s the info straight from him, ”I've got a bunch of copies of Now Youre Playing With Powar 1-2 and copies of 5 left, not so many of 3 and 4, but i need to sell these cd's i printed up, so for the next week, if you guys want, you can go to my webpage and order NYPWP 5, my 70 song video game cover CD, and get THREE CD's for $6, if you order them between now and Saturday..of course if you feel so inclined you can give a few extra bucks for shipping or whatever, but the 3 cd's for $6 rule applies until the end of the month. To clarify, if you want to get copies of NYPWP, NYPWP 2, and NYPWP 5, for $6..now is the time. until the end of the month. Paypal only. just click on the link on the webpage, and you have to make sure you say "YARRRRR" in the misc info field.” -Temp Sound Solutions
P.S. Corey and Jake have been on vacation the past couple days, and should be back soon. I hope you guys had a great time!
You may have noticed the semi-new layout on the front page. I hope you enjoy it. We did the same as well in the events section.
DS Lite launched this week. You can check out a very in depth review over at ARS Technica if you are still undecided on whether to upgrade.
In more DS news, 4CR (4 Color Rebellion for the uninitiated) has a small article on how to spot counterfeit DS games. In a story related to both piracy and the new DS Lite, something that may be good news to anybody jealous of Europe recieving the black DS Lite. Over $2 million dollars worth of black DS Lites have gone missing, and are assumed stolen. Harsh I say.
In other news, games are under scrutiny on capitol hill again. head over to gamepolitics.com for the latest on that as well as other video game politics news.