This week’s Video Game Music is the first article on the new Between Life and Games site, which was recently migrated to self-hosting. Be sure to check out the brand new Forum, as well!
While Chrono Trigger remains my favourite SNES RPG to this day, the first RPG on the system that I played and beat was Nintendo’s EarthBound (or Mother 2). I’m not sure I could fully appreciate its humour at the time, still being a relative RPG newbie, but it was definitely an enjoyable game, despite featuring some outdated mechanics. There were some very good tracks in the game, too, my favourite being Battle Against a Machine – the song I’ve chosen for this week.
Composers: Keiichi Suzuki, Hirokazu Tanaka, Hiroshi Kanazu
Song: Battle Against a Machine
While playing through the Uncharted series and trying to finally reach level 60 in Diablo III, I still do some retro gaming on the side, mostly on my PSP. In 2011, I had started a legendary RPG series in Dragon Quest, and I played the first three in succession before a year-long break. But the fourth game just had to be played, I had to at least finish the NES entries, though I do not know when, if ever, I’ll go on with the SNES ones. The first game is indeed quite important to the industry as a whole, but just not a very good game – I thought the second and especially the third one were nice improvements. So I expected the fourth one to be at least on the level of its really fun predecessor. And, at the end, I’ve got to say there were certainly some things it did better, but I also sorely missed others.
Game: Dragon Quest IV
Original release: 1990
Territories: Japan, North America (as Dragon Warrior IV)
Dragon Quest IV is the first in the series that tries harder to establish a few memorable characters, and even the villain is rather interesting. The main story, as a whole, is still rather generic, but at least the various characters and the villain’s roles in it put it a step above the first three games. It’s an achievement for the series. Gameplay-wise, the game is split into chapters (the recent DS remake even carries the subtitle “Chapters of the Chosen”). Once you reach the main part of the game, you are forced to rely on AI-controlled allies more than you normally feel comfortable. But fortunately, they are adequate most of the time.
The screenshots in this review are my own.
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NES is not my first game system, that was an Atari 2600 Jr., but I’ve got really fond memories of the NES, as it was a vital part of my early years as a gamer, especially in middle school. And let’s face it – there were just so many great games on it. Some people, usually having started in the 16-bit era or later, just love to reduce the NES’s significance, as far as games are concerned, to “Mario 1 and 3, the original Zelda and Mega Man”… But, having much more experience with the system than them, I know they are wrong. And this list is already good enough proof. Don’t expect to find any famous games here. These are the Top 10 hidden NES gems.
See the list
Recently, pretty big rumours have surfaced regarding Nintendo’s upcoming Wii U console from a Ubisoft developer in Italy. Surely, we’ll get a lot of actually factual information in just a couple of weeks at E3, but why not speculate today, too?
Here’s a list of the important stuff:
- Launch date – November 23rd
- Launch price – between $350 and $450
- Radeon HD 6770 GPU
- DirectX 11 support
- Can run Unreal Engine 4
- 2GB RAM, 560 MB reserved for OS
- Support for 2 touch-screen controllers
- Trigger buttons won’t be analogue
- “New button” has a link to the Wii Vitality Sensor
- Multiple versions of the console given to developers – perhaps hardware is not completely finalised yet
- There will be achievements
- UI will be customisable
- Launch titles from Ubisoft: Rayman Legends, The Avengers, Assassin’s Creed 3, Just Dance 4; Killer Freaks from Outer Space to arrive weeks after launch
- Assassin’s Creed 3 to run at 60 fps at 1080p, compared to 720p on PS3/Xbox 360
- Crytek, EA and Valve are working on Wii U
- Valve working on a digital distribution platform and Portal ports
Most of this is very interesting. I highly doubt Nintendo will go for anything above $350 for the price. With the word out already that Wii U will not be THAT much of an improvement over the other two, a $400 price tag would be a certain recipe for a slow start, unless they manage to convince everyone that Wii U is truly full-fledged next-gen at E3.
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In line with my most recent review, the second video game music of the week is from an 8-bit classic. It’s the title screen theme from the excellent team fighting game Nekketsu Kakutou Densetsu, one of the amazing Nekketsu/Kunio games from Technos – my favourite series on the NES and still among my favourites even today. 8-bit music can be very impressive with how much composers have achieved with the extremely limited sound chip capacity available.
Composer: Kazuo Sawa
Game: Nekketsu Kakutou Densetsu
Song: Title Screen
And, without further ado, here is the second part of the list. I hope you enjoy it at least as much as the first!
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Plenty of games shape our life as gamers, and we all have our favourites – some mainstream, some more niche. But there are some games that every self-respecting gamer should know about. You don’t have to like them. You don’t have to even think they’re good. But, as a gamer, you should know about them.
See the list