In an extremely anticipated event on February 20th, Sony finally revealed the PlayStation 4 to the public, along with some upcoming games for the system. The system is coming out for the 2013 holiday season, and sports impressive technical specifications and a modified DualShock 4 controller with extra features like a touchpad and a built-in speaker.
As I did for last year’s E3 conferences, I have prepared a comfortable bullet-point summary of the major announcements during the conference, in order of appearance.
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Despite my large backlog of more recent games, I still love to do some retro gaming on the side (and by “retro,” I mean 8-bit and 16-bit games, even if many would already put the PS1 era in that category). Recently, I decided to finally give some attention to a game I spent quite some time with as a kid, but could never beat – the original Mega Man (or Rockman, as I knew it back then). For old time’s sake, I got the Japanese version that I was familiar with. Playing on my PSP and willing to see it through to the end, I was no stranger to abusing save states… The game just requires considerable skill to be beaten, especially by a first-time player. But, even so, I thought Mega Man had kept its magic through the years.
Game: Mega Man
Platforms: NES, Mobile, Wii/3DS Virtual Console; Mega Drive/Genesis (part of Mega Man: The Wily Wars collection), PlayStation (enhanced remake), PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube (part of Mega Man Anniversary Collection), PlayStation Portable (as Mega Man: Powered Up – enhanced remake)
Original release: 1987
The first Mega Man game is often criticised and considered inferior to the sequels (especially Mega Man 2 and 3), but I’ve always felt that criticism was a bit unfair. It laid the foundations for what Mega Man would become – one of, if not THE signature series for the NES, later spawning countless other games (in several separate series) and even a couple of cartoons. Pick a stage, go through it, defeat the robot master at the end, collect his special power to use later against another robot master. A simple formula in hindsight, but, for its time, it was something very original. The game’s notorious difficulty doesn’t do it any favours (as a kid, I would manage to beat 5 robot masters, only to give up at the Guts Man stage because of those moving platforms in the beginning…), but at least there are unlimited continues (even if there were no passwords) and you don’t lose your progress. It’s also quite fulfilling to choose the right power (as long as you have it) and be able to defeat a robot master in 3-4 hits instead of like 20.
This review provides screenshots captured by me.
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Long before the Phoenix Wright series was created, Capcom were quite famous for their stellar arcade games. Street Fighter is of course the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Capcom in the arcades, but they also made some stellar beat ‘em ups. Final Fight became perhaps the most popular, mostly thanks to the later console entries, but there were other gems like Captain Commando, Cadillacs & Dinosaurs, and, of course, The Punisher. The Punisher was one of my favourite games as a kid, I invested quite a few coins in that good old arcade cabinet… I preferred to use Nick Fury instead of the titular character, his design was just cooler, but the game also had some decent music – definitely among the best arcade music at the time. I chose the first stage’s song for this week, I am sure that people who have played The Punisher will not take more than a few seconds into the video to remember it.
Composers: “Pi-Bomb” Shimomura, Isao Abe
Game: The Punisher (arcade)
Song: Stage 1
In the 20th edition of “Video Game Music of the Week”, I’m finishing the Phoenix Wright triad of entries by completing the game order in reverse. After the songs I posted in the last couple of week – first from the third, then from the second game, here is one of my favourite songs from the first game. It’s called “Investigation ~ Core” and it plays when you find that all-important clue.
Composer: Sugimori Masakazu
Game: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Song: Investigation ~ Core
I can’t help posting another Phoenix Wright song for this week. The series just has so many catchy ones. This time, it’s the serene “Investigation ~ Opening” from the second game.
Composer: Akemi Kimura
Game: Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Justice for All
Song: Investigation ~ Opening
Speaking of adventure games, I really enjoyed the Phoenix Wright games on DS. The first three were just ports of the GBA games, but it was a major gain for the English speaker to be able to play such awesome games in a language he/she could understand. Despite the outlandish murder stories, sometimes bordering on ridiculous, it was great fun finding the clues and especially using your logic to nail the real criminal in court.
Phoenix Wright games also have some really good music that makes them all the more memorable. For this week, I’ve chosen “Godot ~ The Fragrance of Dark Coffee” from the third game – the theme of one of the best characters in the series.
Composer: Noriyuki Iwadare
Game: Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations
Song: Godot ~ The Fragrance of Dark Coffee
This week’s game music was suggested by my buddy Renna from Netrunner2k2. It’s Nathan “Rad” Spencer’s theme from Marvel vs. Capcom 3, a pretty cool remix of the Bionic Commando main theme, which was first used in the original Bionic Commando arcade game from 1987.
Composers: Harumi Fujita (original); Hideyuki Fukasawa (MvC3 version arrangement)
Game: Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Song: Theme of Spencer
Got any game music suggestions of your own? Leave a comment with it or contact me in any of the available ways, and I will consider it for the following weeks!
One cannot avoid the feeling of sadness when a great story ends. In addition to the awe at the conclusion, one feels the bittersweet disappointment that now all the secrets have been unveiled and all the dots – connected. That is how I felt when I finished Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – the final chapter of my favourite game series. Everything came together nicely, there was nothing more to be added… But Peace Walker proved that wrong.
Game: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Developer: Kojima Productions
Platforms: PlayStation Portable; PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (as part of Metal Gear Solid HD Collection)
Releases: 2010 (PSP), 2011 (PS3/Xbox 360), 2012 (PS3/Xbox 360 – Europe)
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is the latest installment in the ground-breaking tactical espionage action series by Hideo Kojima. Built for the PSP, it is superior in every way to its handheld predecessor, Portable Ops, and Kojima himself and his trusty team were the ones working on its development from beginning to end (as opposed to the overseer role Kojima had with Portable Ops). Furthermore, with the game coming to consoles as part of the HD collection (and that was the version I played, too), it proved to be ambitious and well-made enough that one barely sees differences from the full-blown console Metal Gear Solid titles.
Fans of the series will certainly love this one, and even people completely new to it will be pleased. Peace Walker keeps the core gameplay we’ve come to know and love, and also takes some interesting new approaches that help the game feel fresh and exciting even to Metal Gear veterans. And it’s another chapter of the story of Big Boss – one of the most badass, awe-inspiring game characters to have ever existed.
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