Wildcat’s Favorite Gaming Soundtracks (2012)

A little bit ago I revised my Top 100 tunes in gaming, and had the thought of deciphering my overall favorite soundtracks as well. I’ve decided to select 50 games to represent the best of the best in terms of gaming music, and here they are. There are no limits on this one, so you’ll see a few franchises well represented here. The Top 15 will be at the top, including links to the individual playlists. The remaining selections will be below and merely listed. All are in alphabetical order. I hope you all like these soundtracks as much as I do!

TOP 15:

Age of Mythology (PC, Microsoft/Ensemble Studios, Stephen Rippy/Kevin McCullan)

Batman (NES, Sunsoft, Naoki Kodaka/Nobuyuki Hara)

Beyond Good & Evil (Multi, UBI Soft, Christophe Héral)

Body Harvest (N64, Midway/DMA Design, Stuart Ross/Allan Walker)

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (DS, Konami, Michiru Yamane/Yuko Koshiro)

Chrono Trigger (SNES, Square-Enix, Yasunori Mitsuda/Nobuo Uemetsu)

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of a Cursed King (PS2, Square-Enix/Level-5, Koichi Sugiyama)

Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (DS, CiNG/Nintendo, Yuhki Mori/Satoshi Okubo)

Mega Man 3 (NES, Capcom, Yasuaki Fujita)

Metroid (NES, Nintendo, Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka)

Okami (PS2, Capcom, Masami Ueda, Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Hiroyuki Hamada, Rei Kondo and Akari Groves)

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 (PS2, Atlus, Shoji Meguro)

Skies of Arcadia (DC, Sega/Overworks, Yutaka Minobe/Takayuki Maeda)

Super Mario 64 (N64, Nintendo, Koji Kondo)

Super Metroid (SNES, Nintendo, Kenji Yamamoto/Minako Hamano)

The Rest:

Age of Empires III (PC, Microsoft/Ensemble Studios, Stephen Rippy/Kevin McCullan)
Banjo-Kazooie (N64, Rare/Nintendo, Grant Kirkhope)
A Boy and his Blob (Wii, Majesco/Wayforward, Daniel Sadowski)
Castlevania (NES, Konami, Kinuyo Yamashita)
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS1, Konami, Michiru Yamane)
Contra (NES, Konami, Hidenori Maezawa, Kyouhei Sada, KONAMI KuKeiHa Club)
Deus Ex (PC, Ion Storm/Eidos, Alexander Brandon, Dan Gardopée, Michiel van den Bos, Reeves Gabrels)
Dragon Quest IX (DS, Square-Enix/Level-5, Koichi Sugiyama)
Final Fantasy III (SNES, Square-Enix, Nobuo Uemetsu)
Fire Emblem (GBA, Nintendo/Intelligent Systems, Yuka Tsujiyoko)
Goldeneye 007 (N64, Rare/Nintendo, Graeme Norgate)
Heroes of Might and Magic IV (PC, New World Computing/3DO, Paul Romero, Rob King, Steve Baca, Paul James)
King of Fighters Evolution (NeoGeo, SNK Playmore, NeoGeo Music Performance Group)
Kirby’s Adventure (NES, HAL Labs/Nintendo, Hirokazu Andō/Jun Ishikawa)
Kirby’s Epic Yarn (Wii, HAL Labs/Feel Good/Nintendo, Tomoya Tomita, Hirokazu Andō, Jun Ishikawa)
The Last Blade 2 (NeoGeo, SNK Playmore, NeoGeo Music Performance Group)
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64, Nintendo, Koji Kondo)
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (GC, Nintendo, Koji Kondo, Toru Minegishi, Asuka Ota)
Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals (DS, Neverland/Square-Enix/Natsume, Yasunori Shiono, Tomoko Morita, Yukio Nakajima)
Metroid Prime (GC, Nintendo/Retro Studios, Kenji Yamamoto)
Monster Tale (DS, Majesco/Dreamrift, Ian Stocker)
Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii, Vanillaware/Ignition, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Masaharu Iwata, Mitsuhiro Kaneda, Noriyuki Kamikura, Kimihiro Abe, Yoshimi Kudo, Azusa Chiba)
Ogre Battle 64 (N64, Square-Enix/Quest, Hayato Matsuo, Masaharu Iwata, Hitoshi Sakimoto)
Power Blade (NES, Taito/Natsume, Kinuyo Yamashita)
Rayman Origins (Multi, UBI Soft, Christophe Héral/Billy Martin)
Red Dead Redemption (PS3/Xbox 360, Rockstar/Rockstar San Diego, Bill Elm/Woody Jackson)
Secret of Mana (SNES, Square-Enix, Hiroki Kikuta)
Shadow Hearts: From the New World (PS2, Nautilus/Aruze/XSEED, Yoshitaka Hirota/Tomoko Imoto)
Sid Meier’s Pirates! (PC, Firaxis/Take 2, Mark Cromer/Michael Curran)
Silent Hill 3 (PS2, Konami, Akira Yamaoka)
Super Mario Galaxy (Wii, Nintendo, Koji Kondo/Mahito Yokota)
Tales of Symphonia (GC, Namco Bandai, Motoi Sakuraba/Shusaku Uchiyama)
Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii, Monolith Soft/Nintendo, Yoko Shinomura, ACE+, Yasunori Mitsuda, Manami Kiyota)
Zoda’s Revenge: Startropics II (NES, Nintendo, Y. Hirai/T. Kumegawa)

Wildcat’s 100 Favorite Game Tunes (2012)

Last year, I put up 100 tracks from gaming that I absolutely loved. However, as the year has rolled by, I think that I’ve cooled off on some of those songs and fell in love with others I had omitted. With that in mind, I feel that it’s a good time to revisit that idea and update the list. This year’s edition will increase the Top choices to ten. I will continue to operate under the rules set last year by keeping the list diversified through not picking all of, say, Mega Man 3′s soundtrack. Only two tracks per game will be allowed. Youtube clips are provided so you can sample the music, however, I can not constantly update this page with new links as Youtube users or copyright owners shut clips down! I’ve done quite a few Song Highlights on these tunes if you’d like to dig through and read why I like some of these songs. Enjoy!

TOP 10


Mega Man 3, Protoman’s Whistle Concert, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uikEuigprFE


Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Midna’s Lament, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7GWf3e_I3w


Chrono Trigger, Memories of Green, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr9-OcPLO3M


Beyond Good & Evil, Home Sweet Home, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTdcJWDNsao


Castlevania, Wicked Child, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7PFm7mrdVY

rdr1
Red Dead Redemption, Far Away,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IkvAb6THQY

Okami, Shinshu Plains (1 and 2), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yKG-Qu4WvM

Silent Hill 3, You’re Not Here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz3ufaZCoVw

Secret of Mana, Into the Thick of It, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3N9lrq-rks

Skies of Arcadia, Lower Valua, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlJxG1FmMOU

The Rest:
A Boy and his Blob (Wii), Forest, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC_u7bmVsSc
A Boy and his Blob (Wii), Plains, http://youtu.be/pfmiI9AttYc
Age of Empires III, A Hot Meal, http://youtu.be/jB1R5s3PVEM
Age of Mythology, Suture Self, http://youtu.be/KhvklZT0LMg
Age of Mythology, Chocolate Outline, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBpz9S6I07g
Batman (NES), Stage 1/5, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlGDKfgz4fA
Batman (NES), Stage 3, http://youtu.be/zERK-4IgQAg
Beyond Good & Evil, Hillyan Suite, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p48dpXQixgk
Bionic Commando (NES), Area 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hl5UCCBCXI
Bionic Commando (NES), Area 2, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIvcYCbWMfY
Blast Corps., Angel City, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2eRyyj_NCo
Blaster Master, Level 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUnwRFMo6D0
Blaster Master, Level 2, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIjIUyXrBJg
Body Harvest, Outdoors (Violin), http://youtu.be/pC41_–XeqQ
Body Harvest, Indoors (piano), http://youtu.be/wURLANzjDLk
Breath of Fire, Deep Forest, http://youtu.be/1iCbSLFrqrU
California Games (NES), Flying Disc, http://youtu.be/5iYMN2FKkoY
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, Bloody Tears, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjazC45Qkww
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Jail of Jewel, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtRdjcXfXsc
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Dracula’s Castle, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgF0uBjCds0
Cave Story, On to Grasstown, http://youtu.be/VlmOhXoKmoQ
Chrono Trigger, Wind Scene (Yearning of Wind), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqZaFDA7PXY
Contra (NES), Level 3, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U58a-svZok8
Deus Ex, Hong Kong Streets 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzvw8uSWucM
Diablo, Tristram Village, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8jJJXgNLo4
Dragon Quest IX, Heaven’s Prayer, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myjd1MnZx5Y
Dragon Quest VIII, Strange World, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kN9Up_0zuUs
Dragon Quest VIII, Heavenly Flight, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taVdFgxvhRg
Ducktales, Transylvania, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UuHesrJROw
Final Fantasy, Temple of Fiends, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hW56QbT0lrM
Final Fantasy VI, Terra’s Theme, http://youtu.be/W7RPY-oiDAQ
Fire Emblem (7 in series order), Wind Across the Plains, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFWOvIrBCgc
F-Zero GX, Captain Falcon’s Theme, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L0pW3Eol6k
Grandia II, Mirumu, http://youtu.be/ZG_oW5XH71Y
Heroes of Might and Magic IV, Swamp Lands, http://youtu.be/Cffc_s0eN5Q
Hotel Dusk: Room 215, The Last Sleep, http://youtu.be/BwdCg8Gqqfk
Jet Grind Radio, Magical Girl, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h9f939bW3c
Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Butter Building, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfdJbaCfXjQ
Kirby’s Adventure, Ending, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OVKyjZs-nU
The Last Ninja, Stage 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiLvoMpLQFA
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Forest Temple, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4o3EMdYaKw
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Spirit Temple, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0PVz2pIEcw
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Kakariko Village, http://youtu.be/LdERRFGaUjY
Mario Kart 64, Credits, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYwZT3CvpMw
Mega Man 2, Air Man, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FINefcN9pPc
Mega Man 3, Snake Man, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM-Fub7Oc_A
Mega Man 5, Wave Man, http://youtu.be/Nd2O6mbhCLU
Mega Man 6, Flame Man, http://youtu.be/qdWeTin2mho
Mega Man 6, Mr. X stages, http://youtu.be/uhJ7Ss-puVY
Metroid, Ending, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQeUkUp4uRc
Metroid Prime, Phendrana Drifts (second version), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbbUv1hz6mE
Metroid Prime, Tallon Overworld, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mziw3FQkZYg
Monster Tale, Ancient Ruins, http://youtu.be/iQ1D6UJW5Jg
M.U.L.E., Main Theme, http://youtu.be/VI2e-jwjhN4
Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Seifu Meigetsu A, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUF1lkbvoUs
Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Bosyoku Souzen A, http://youtu.be/c9qBwD4bxO8
Ogre Battle 64, Premonition, http://youtu.be/Rel-IOyQTX0
Ogre Battle 64, The Sensational World, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSnlp1YAUJ0
Okami, Reset, http://youtu.be/zpuGNH75pUc
Perfect Dark, Chicago – Stealth, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJbwLjKhVGw
Persona 4, Your Affection, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ChrBp1pEGM
Persona 4, The Almighty, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNVMKpk__HQ
Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations, The Dark Fragrance of Coffee, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxzTrWUajZg
Portal, Still Alive, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6ljFaKRTrI
Portal 2, Want You Gone, http://youtu.be/jBdRaGSI4jU
Power Blade, Level 4 – Tower, http://youtu.be/c-R6Zp3n608
Rayman Origins, Sea of Serendipity – Panic at the Port!, http://youtu.be/5UVPJxSmt54
Rayman Origins, Sea of Serendipity – Lums of the Water (“Glou Glou”), http://youtu.be/oNV2uakCtzs
Secret of Mana, A Wish, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLK8IrYrZxA
Shadow Hearts: From the New World, Dead Fingers Talk, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5clzlxOZQeU
Shadow Hearts: From the New World, Adios, http://youtu.be/-lkRjV7Zp-k
Silent Hill, Silent Hill, http://youtu.be/_EN-_1OGtUY
Silent Hill 2, Laura, http://youtu.be/6LB7LZZGpkw
Silent Hill 3, Breeze ~in monochrome light~, http://youtu.be/OneUwrYiGIw
Skies of Arcadia, Kingdom of Ixa’taka, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0F-hJjD3XAs
Sly 2: Band of Thieves, Dmitri’s Nightclub, http://youtu.be/RCX3tV7lSdk
Sonic CD, Sonic Boom, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJXKoubh9sQ
Super Ghouls and Ghosts, Ice Forest, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4URokdL-dfM
Super Mario 64, Koopa’s (Bowser’s) Road, http://youtu.be/0rygsWPCjNQ
Super Mario 64, Water Course Theme (Dire Dire Docks), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqcPSbkS9TQ
Super Mario Galaxy, Gusty Garden Galaxy, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z2kxFCQ_mQ
Super Metroid, Maradia, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxobPQMNY_w
Super Metroid, Brinstar (Plant Overgrown), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ULlqfeNLWY
Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Bramble Blast, http://youtu.be/G3rnyqI7dFc
Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Metroid Theme, http://youtu.be/3MRznLSFGFQ
Tales of Symphonia, Like a Glint of Light, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFWadiZkA_8
Xenoblade Chronicles, Guar Plains, http://youtu.be/xweRl4LZlmo
Xenoblade Chronicles, Title Theme, http://youtu.be/nNR-wsFAfiU
Zoda’s Revenge: Startropics II, Dungeon Theme #2, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF-30Dg9Xs4
Zoda’s Revenge: Startropics II, Dungeon Theme #6, http://youtu.be/22ATqffTkIk

 

Dropped from last year:
Banjo-Kazooie, Click Clock Wood (spring)
Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, Aquarius
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Hail from the Past
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Crystal Teardrops
Contra (NES), Level 1
Donkey Kong Country, Theme (Simian Segue)
Dragon Quest IX, I Won’t Lose
Grandia II, Carbo
Hotel Dusk: Room 215, Big Dreams
Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Outer Rings
Legend of Zelda, Death Mountain (Final Dungeon)
Mega Man 2, Wood Man
Mega Man 5, Charge Man
Persona 4, Reach out to the Truth
Resident Evil 4, Sorrow
Super Mario Galaxy 2, The Tico and the Hat
Super Mario RPG, And My Name’s Booster
Tales of Symphonia, Dry Trail

Modified on 12/26/2012, JF

Wildcat’s Ten Favorite Nintendo 64 Games (Updated 8/22/2012)

I adore my humble N64. It was my second gaming console, and I think I’ve put as much time into it as I did into the old NES. I’ve got three N64 games floating in my Alternate list of my favorite games, with plenty of others not too far behind, so I have plenty of solid memories of the system. If I had to pick ten essentials for the platform, these would be them (note! If the title is on the VC, I’ll have an asterisk [*] next to its name, or if it’s on Xbox Live, it’ll have a pound sign [#]):

Super Mario 64* (Nintendo)

I once held Ocarina of Time as the greatest N64 game, but I don’t think time has been as kind to it as it has to Mario’s triumphant debut. This also remains my favorite Mario title by a long shot. Why do I love it so? Perhaps a quick look at my 1996 Looking Back piece will explain!

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time* (Nintendo)

Yes, perhaps age has been a tad harsh of Ocarina. Twilight Princess and Wind Waker both made significant strides in improving Link’s mobility and smoothness, and going back to Ocarina is a step back. Honestly though, that’s the only factor of its age. The dungeons, the music and the overall quality still shine through. I’ve got plenty more to say about the game elsewhere, with my best comments here in my 1998 Looking Back article.

Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber* (Atlus/Quest)

Before being gobbled up by Square-Enix, Quest was an independent developer best known for the Ogre Battle/Tactics Ogre series of games, with this entry being a highlight of the N64 lineup as its best RPG. It takes a hands-off approach in terms of battling: the player is in the commander’s seat, issuing commands to squad leaders marching on an overworld map, equipping those armies with gear, changing classes of your troops, and keeping an eye on the coffers in the midst of all this. Despite battles being CPU-controlled (you can issue commands to retreat, alter formation or, if you have them, unleash powerful Elem Pedra spells in the hope to take advantage in a tight battle), it’s gripping stuff. It remains my favorite strategy RPG (side by side with Fire Emblem), and I can highly recommend it for fans of the genre.

Body Harvest (Midway/DMA Design)

I like this game a lot. I’ve written an article for HG101 on it, which may indicate that I enjoy the open alien-filled worlds of Body Harvest more than most people. Despite me taking a more or less impartial stance in that article, I think it’ll explain my passion for it better than a paragraph here would.

Goldeneye 007 (Nintendo/Rare)

Ah, Mr. Bond. You went and shocked the world with your amazing game back in 1997. Incorporating a first person shooter with objectives that change depending on the difficulty, a wide cache of weapons to carry out your mission, and surprisingly not sucking like so many other movie-based licenses do. While time has not been entirely kind to you, with so many refinements and advancements in the genre in the years following your arrival, I still consider you a 00 agent worthy of deployment. More to be said in my ‘97 Favorite Games.

Perfect Dark # (Rare)

Joanna Dark is not as quite an effective agent as 007 was, alas. Her single player campaign starts off very well but fizzles out when aliens enter the picture, culminating in a terrible final boss encounter (see here). However, PD truly shines in multiplayer, despite some frame rate problems. I’ve spent over seven days in multiplayer mode with friends and/or AI bots, and it takes a significant amount of time for it to get old. It was perhaps too ambitious a project for the humble N64, but I’m glad I had a chance to experience it nevertheless.

International Superstar Soccer ’98 (Konami)

Konami did support the N64 pretty well in its third-party drought, with the ISS series standing out as their gem. This is, without question, the best sports game I have ever played. It’s incredibly smooth, the AI is sharp, the ambiance is great, and the frame rate holds firm in gameplay (chugging only for the celebrations). Bar none the greatest game of pitch you could find. I’d like to try the Pro Evolution games, since they spun off from this, but I’m afraid I will be disappointed. :(

Resident Evil 2 (Capcom)

Capcom ditched Nintendo for most of the N64 lifespan, finally showing up to the party well after most of the other guests went home. Luckily, they did bring along two of their more acclaimed PS1 games (this and Mega Man Legends), as well as a goofy Disney Tetris game. Resident Evil 2 happens to be one of the technical masterpieces of the hardware. It managed to compress two CD’s worth of data onto a large cartridge, kept in the voice work and FMV, and magically doesn’t look atrocious at all. The models look better than the PS1 original, but the textures (the bane of any N64 developer) aren’t as sharp. This game kicked off my RE fandom, so that ought to be a decent indicator of how good this port was. It’s the best of the old-school RE’s, in my opinion.

Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask* (Nintendo)

The boldest Zelda title since Zelda II on the NES, Majora’s Mask took many creative risks, and most of them worked out in the game’s favor. The three-day cycle was a neat gimmick that Nintendo built a proper town life around, making it seem one of the more true-to-life locales in any game up to that point. Link’s transformations added some variety to the Ocarina template, and the dungeons, while fewer in number, stand as some of Zelda’s most intriguing. Add in some ominous mood (in part thanks to the creepy Moon hovering over you all the time) and some truly bizarre characters (Tingle?) and you’re in for an interesting ride.

Banjo-Kazooie # (Rare)

Rare’s attempt to mimic Mario 64 wasn’t quite as stellar as Nintendo’s effort, but it certainly packed in more variety. Banjo and Kazooie’s ever-growing moveset made the experience a little Metroid-like, and it played up the platforming level tropes with much success. Rare’s finest platformer on the console, without question.

Contenders:

Blast Corps (Nintendo/Rare)

Starfox 64* (Nintendo)

Waverace 64* (Nintendo)

Mario Kart 64* (Nintendo)

1080 Snowboarding* (Nintendo)

Wildcat’s 100 Favorite Game Tunes (2011)

Kurt Kalata over at Hardcore Gaming 101 is running a poll to determine what video gaming tunage is most liked among the forum and blog there, and I decided to participate and compile my favorites.  I’ve done quite a few Song Highlights on these tunes, and will be doing plenty more in the near future spotlighting them and providing some explanation, but here’s my list (with Youtube links to sample the song – hopefully they all work!):

TOP 5


Mega Man 3, Protoman’s Whistle Concert, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uikEuigprFE


Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Midna’s Lament, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7GWf3e_I3w


Chrono Trigger, Memories of Green, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr9-OcPLO3M


Beyond Good & Evil, Home Sweet Home, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTdcJWDNsao


Castlevania, Wicked Child, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7PFm7mrdVY

The Rest:
A Boy and his Blob (Wii), Forest, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC_u7bmVsSc
A Boy and his Blob (Wii), Plains, http://youtu.be/pfmiI9AttYc
Age of Mythology, Suture Self, http://youtu.be/KhvklZT0LMg
Age of Mythology, Chocolate Outline, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBpz9S6I07g
Banjo-Kazooie, Click Clock Wood (spring), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXoaTcf_3vo
Batman (NES), Stage 1/5, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlGDKfgz4fA
Batman (NES), Stage 3, http://youtu.be/zERK-4IgQAg
Beyond Good & Evil, Hillyan Suite, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p48dpXQixgk
Bionic Commando (NES), Area 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hl5UCCBCXI
Bionic Commando (NES), Area 2, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIvcYCbWMfY
Blaster Master, Level 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUnwRFMo6D0
Blaster Master, Level 2, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIjIUyXrBJg
Body Harvest, Outdoors (Violin), http://youtu.be/pC41_–XeqQ
Body Harvest, Indoors (piano), http://youtu.be/wURLANzjDLk
Breath of Fire, Deep Forest, http://youtu.be/1iCbSLFrqrU
California Games (NES), Flying Disc, http://youtu.be/5iYMN2FKkoY
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, Bloody Tears, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjazC45Qkww
Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, Aquarius, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MORo75YOHWs
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Hail from the Past, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg1PDaOnU2Q
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Jail of Jewel, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtRdjcXfXsc
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Dracula’s Castle, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgF0uBjCds0
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Crystal Teardrops, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWwJEQt90qk
Chrono Trigger, Wind Scene (Yearning of Wind), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqZaFDA7PXY
Contra (NES), Level 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UqXbEwqwF8
Contra (NES), Level 3, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U58a-svZok8
Deus Ex, Hong Kong Streets 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzvw8uSWucM
Diablo, Tristram Village, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8jJJXgNLo4
Donkey Kong Country, Theme (Simian Segue), http://youtu.be/nLT1-5laF0A
Dragon Quest IX, Heaven’s Prayer, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myjd1MnZx5Y
Dragon Quest IX, I Won’t Lose, http://youtu.be/aycArJW4klo
Dragon Quest VIII, Strange World, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kN9Up_0zuUs
Dragon Quest VIII, Heavenly Flight, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taVdFgxvhRg
Ducktales, Transylvania, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UuHesrJROw
Fire Emblem (7 in series order), Wind Across the Plains, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFWOvIrBCgc
F-Zero GX, Captain Falcon’s Theme, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L0pW3Eol6k
Grandia II, Carbo, http://youtu.be/1XqprRUVSJo
Grandia II, Mirumu, http://youtu.be/ZG_oW5XH71Y
Hotel Dusk: Room 215, Big Dreams, http://youtu.be/cgy5_a9fx4g
Hotel Dusk: Room 215, The Last Sleep, http://youtu.be/BwdCg8Gqqfk
Jet Grind Radio, Magical Girl, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h9f939bW3c
Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Outer Rings, http://youtu.be/y3DAHtoitXY
Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Butter Building, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfdJbaCfXjQ
Kirby’s Adventure, Ending, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OVKyjZs-nU
The Last Ninja, Stage 1, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiLvoMpLQFA
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Forest Temple, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4o3EMdYaKw
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Spirit Temple, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0PVz2pIEcw
Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Kakariko Village, http://youtu.be/LdERRFGaUjY
Legend of Zelda, Death Mountain (Final Dungeon), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_NPA7caCsc
Mario Kart 64, Credits, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYwZT3CvpMw
Mega Man 2, Air Man, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FINefcN9pPc
Mega Man 2, Wood Man, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbK2uCp4-sQ
Mega Man 3, Snake Man, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM-Fub7Oc_A
Mega Man 5, Wave Man, http://youtu.be/Nd2O6mbhCLU
Mega Man 5, Charge Man, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PEukLWNKsg
Mega Man 6, Flame Man, http://youtu.be/qdWeTin2mho
Mega Man 6, Mr. X stages, http://youtu.be/uhJ7Ss-puVY
Metroid, Ending, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQeUkUp4uRc
Metroid Prime, Phendrana Drifts (second version), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbbUv1hz6mE
Metroid Prime, Tallon Overworld, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mziw3FQkZYg
Monster Tale, Ancient Ruins, http://youtu.be/iQ1D6UJW5Jg
MULE, Main Theme, http://youtu.be/VI2e-jwjhN4
Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Seifu Meigetsu A, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUF1lkbvoUs
Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Bosyoku Souzen A, http://youtu.be/c9qBwD4bxO8
Ogre Battle 64, Premonition, http://youtu.be/Rel-IOyQTX0
Ogre Battle 64, The Sensational World, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSnlp1YAUJ0
Okami, Shinshu Plains (1 and 2), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yKG-Qu4WvM
Okami, Hanasaki Valley, http://youtu.be/EtKh1Uac2Og
Perfect Dark, Chicago – Stealth, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJbwLjKhVGw
Persona 4, Your Affection, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ChrBp1pEGM
Persona 4, The Almighty, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNVMKpk__HQ
Persona 4, Reach out to the Truth, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzFl6sWHmXI
Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations, The Dark Fragrance of Coffee, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxzTrWUajZg
Portal, Still Alive, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6ljFaKRTrI
Red Dead Redemption, Far Away, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IkvAb6THQY
Resident Evil 4, Sorrow (end credits), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0k4kGkH6Bk
Secret of Mana, A Wish, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLK8IrYrZxA
Secret of Mana, Into the Thick of It, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3N9lrq-rks
Shadow Hearts: From the New World, Dead Fingers Talk, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5clzlxOZQeU
Shadow Hearts: From the New World, Adios, http://youtu.be/-lkRjV7Zp-k
Skies of Arcadia, Kingdom of Ixa’taka, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0F-hJjD3XAs
Skies of Arcadia, Lower Valua, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlJxG1FmMOU
Silent Hill 3, You’re Not Here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz3ufaZCoVw
Sonic CD, Sonic Boom, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJXKoubh9sQ
Super Ghouls and Ghosts, Ice Forest, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4URokdL-dfM
Super Mario 64, Koopa’s (Bowser’s) Road, http://youtu.be/0rygsWPCjNQ
Super Mario 64, Water Course Theme (Dire Dire Docks), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqcPSbkS9TQ
Super Mario Galaxy, Gusty Garden Galaxy, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z2kxFCQ_mQ
Super Mario Galaxy 2, The Tico and the Hat, http://youtu.be/Xev0rnBJIzA
Super Mario RPG, And My Name’s Booster, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJoGF1oLd0o
Super Metroid, Maradia, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxobPQMNY_w
Super Metroid, Brinstar (Plant Overgrown), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ULlqfeNLWY
Tales of Symphonia, Like a Glint of Light, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFWadiZkA_8
Tales of Symphonia, Dry Trail, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvnAkAQK82E
Zoda’s Revenge: Startropics II, Dungeon Theme #2, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF-30Dg9Xs4
Zoda’s Revenge: Startropics II, Dungeon Theme #6, http://youtu.be/22ATqffTkIk

My Body Harvest article is up at HG101!

It took a bit, but some screenshot problems finally were resolved and Kurt Katala was able to put up my article on Body Harvest over at Hardcore Gaming 101 this week.  I’m excited to have my first piece up there, and have something in mind for a second (hint – it’s titled after an animal, but it’s a robotic one with an acronym for a name…you may find a piece on said game buried deep in the LVLs. archives…).  If you spot any glaring errors, let me know here or at the HG101 forum in the thread for the piece so we can make it one of the premiere spots for info on the game.  Don’t fret about me focusing all my energy for another site, though – I’ll still be working hard here. :)

Looking Back – My Favorite Game of 1998

1998…a big year.  I became a sophomore, losing the stigma of freshmen status, which was nice.  It was the last year I spent hanging out with Chad, who had begun to get pretty heavy into drugs at this point in his life.  He also felt isolated, like the whole high school was against him, so he transferred out to an alternate high school that helped troubled students get through school the following year.  It was a pretty big loss to me.  Chad and I had been essential pillars of strength to each other (as far as I’m concerned, at least) through some difficult years, so it was odd to not see him anywhere near as often as I used to.

1998 also introduced me to a guy named Trent, who was and is one of the coolest people I’ve ever known.  To be honest, I wish I had known him longer than I had to chance to.  He walked on his own path, marched to a different beat…any sort of goofy metaphor you can come up with for an individual, he was it.  He was a big inspiration on me, and really helped push me towards becoming such a big believer in individualism.  Sort of odd how I was inspired to be individualistic by someone else (sort of goes against that premise :p ), but I can’t imagine myself now without the convictions I hold for it, so I appreciate the nudge Trent provided.

Chris and I also spent a ton of time together, and began our fighting rivalry with the arcade version of X-Men Vs. Street Fighter, which popped up at a local arcade.  We also battled in a completely unexpected game – Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.  Chris had a few friends over when he had just picked the game up.  I was amazed, enthralled even about what I was watching.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  When I started the game at his house, I recorded it.  I got through the Deku Tree, but not much farther.  When I returned home, I asked my mom if we could go and get it, but alas, she was busy working and didn’t want to take me.  I had the game on reserve as it was, but I just had to witness the game again, so I watched my tape.  My mom walked in while I was glued to the screen…and decided to take me down to pick it up if I got it quickly.   What’s best about this story is when I got it, I became completely addicted to the stellar gameplay and level design.  So much so, that I beat the game in about 20 hours in 4 days. The best part?  I beat it 5 minutes before Chris, who had it a week before I did.  I called him after the credits rolled to let him know I had conquered it and he was (I paraphrase) “What?  I’m fighting Ganon now!”   Years later, when I brought this back up, he told me that he was quite upset at me. :p

Let’s see, what else happened…my crush told me her story I mentioned last time.  Took some time to get over that one. XD  It was around this time that I came up with my OC Claire.  I was so devastated by losing my crush to alcohol that I made Claire up to be what I considered at the time my ideal dream girl.  It’s really hokey and stupid to look back on, but that’s what I did in order to try to counteract the heartache I felt.  I did have real crushes following this :p – two in high school (both wanted to stay as friends) and more than a few in college (only two I dared ask out, though – one I wanted to stay as friends with, but my brain was all fucked up with emotive feelings, so I just wanted to get that resolved with, and the second…I married ^_^ ).  So that wraps that that tangent. :p

It was around this time that I began reading The Bard’s Tale series of books put out by Mercedes Lackey and various co-authors.  I adored them.  I still consider them the best fantasy books I’ve read.  I don’t know if they are all that literary, but they do their fantasy spiel quite well, and despite having next to nothing to do with the games they plucked the name from, they are engaging and quick to read.  I was quite taken with these, and was inspired to venture out a new game concept utilizing the license (I had no clue about copyright back then).  As I’ve gotten older I’ve removed the Bard’s Tale from that concept, but I still fiddle with the thought once in a while, and you may see some fruits of that labor in the near future.  Maybe. :o

Shortlist:

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64, Nintendo)

Link’s first foray into three dimensions maintained the Zelda legacy, if not exceeding its predecessors with its rich gameplay, enormous world and puzzling dungeons.  Definitely a milestone in gaming history.


Body Harvest (N64, Midway/DMA Design)

A tense action game that requires quick reflexes and a fast trigger finger, DMA Design’s alien blaster may not have the critical acclaim it deserves, but is a fine example of 3D action games at their best.


Marvel Vs. Capcom (Arcade, Capcom)

The third Vs. game with Marvel, mixing in Darkstalkers, Strider, Mega Man, Captain Commando and Cyberbots characters on top of Street Fighter for Capcom’s side, plus plucking the best reps from Marvel’s (plus Venom), this was a frantic free-for-all fighter that entertains for hours.


International Superstar Soccer 98 (N64, Konami)

Building upon its earlier success, ISS 98 perfects the gameplay set into motion prior, adding in a ton of new technical aspects to the core, and delivered a soccer experience unlike any other.  A landmark in sports gaming, and is possibly the best one ever made.

In my opinion, the best game of 1998 was…

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64, Nintendo)

I mentioned that Goldeneye was in the Top 5 of games that left an impact on me. Ocarina of Time is at the top.  There may be four games ahead of it on my favorites list now, but Nintendo’s N64 Zelda debut shook me to my gaming core back in the day.  I don’t know if I’ve ever been so mesmerized by a game as I was with this.  I really wish I could go back in time and revisit myself discovering the intricacies buried within this golden cartridge a second time.  Alas, I will have to live with the memories alone.

Starting up Zelda: OoT was such a pivotal point for my gaming career.  Prior to my exposure with Ocarina of Time, I had beaten the first NES game, dabbled with Link to the Past and Link’s Awakening, and couldn’t get myself to comprehend Zelda II’s unusual gameplay alterations.  I can’t say that I was a fan of the franchise, though.  As the opening cinema began, with Link riding Epona through Hyrule Field, with one of the more poignant intro themes I had heard at the time, I knew I was in for a very special treat.  Getting past the menu and into the game’s exposition was thrilling.  Settling in to control Link was even more so.  Link was amazingly responsive – not quite as loose as Mario was in Mario 64, but his ease of maneuvering through the environments was awesomely done.  The game prodded you along to progress deeper, but allowed plenty of freedom to explore and poke around (minus Navi griping at you all the time XD ).  Secrets were everywhere – rolling into trees, bombing walls, dropping bugs into patches of dirt, firing hookshots into trees and treasure chests, diving deep underwater…just a taste of the hidden surprises awaiting persistent players.

The visuals were unprecedented for the system, too.  It was a visual feast for the eyes.  Naturally, it’s lost that appeal to the march of technology, but it was quite a tour de force for my young mind to undergo.  The music has not lost its edge, however, remaining as rich as it did over a decade ago.  And the cast of NPC’s Link could interact with are still some of the finest in the series.  The Happy Mask Seller, Malon, Talon,  and Ingo, the Carpenter Brothers, the Kokiri children, and of course, the emerging wickedness of one of gaming’s oldest villains, Ganon.  His new “human” form as the Gerudo Ganondorf added something new to his character, and the game’s handling of his villainy made him much more devious than the prior games were able to convey.  And I will eternally remember crossing blades with him.  That is a hallmark of a boss battle, let me tell you.  Zelda too had a chance to grow as a character, and despite falling into the damsel-in-distress role the moment she ceases being her alter ego Sheik, the expansion of her was greatly appreciated.

All and all, I consider Ocarina of Time to define the finest of early 3D games.  It is huge, deep and had a profound emotional significance to me that not many other games can claim, and remains one of the greatest joys I’ve had in my life, gaming or not.  A massive, massive thanks to Nintendo for this crowning achievement.

Some personal anecdotes…

My fun story of topping Chris in beating the game above is probably the best anecdote I have of Ocarina of Time, and a solid testament to how attached I was to this game…man.  Five minutes ahead of him.  I still am floored by the fact I beat him to the end.

I’ve gotten everything in this game.  I’ve even abused the bottle duplicating trick on items I rarely or never used. :p

The Master Quest variant of the game you can track down on the Gamecube is a nice remix of dungeon delving.  Jabu-Jabu’s Belly in particular stands out as one of the more surreal moments in a Zelda title, and yes, I have played Majora’s Mask. :p

The 3DS remake has me naturally interested, but seeing what Nintendo did to Mario 64 DS makes me a little weary.  The analog nub will resolve control issues (with any luck), but will Nintendo make unnecessary additions to the game that could jeopardize what made Ocarina so incredible in the first place?  We’ll see soon, I guess.

And lastly, comparing the later 3D Zeldas…

Majora’s Mask – While having a far more intriguing atmosphere and some cool gameplay ideas with the various masks, the steep decline of dungeons (which were excellent, I must say) and the reliance on timing things just right to achieve everything made the overall game a little paler than Ocarina.  It is very good, though.

Wind Waker – Link’s first Gamecube adventure would have been wonderful if that damn boat wasn’t used so much, the AI buddies in two particular dungeons were easier to switch to (and controlled better), and if the game didn’t rely on the Tingle Triforce Shard Parade over dungeon dives or some other form of gameplay than the tedious sailing, I would consider it in my top 25 without question.  Has the best combat engine for Link in the 3D games, too, which makes it unfortunate that it got saddled with some poor design choices.  More on that here.

Twilight Princess – My second favorite Zelda of all time, it has so many things that are awesome about it for me to rattle off here.  I’ll focus on what makes it not quite an Ocarina killer – namely, a stretch of the game where the story takes a back seat to constant dungeon trips, ruining the earlier plot focus; mechanics that needed to be fleshed out a little more (the hawk or horse combat, for example) to not feel fluffy, and the slight downgrade the combat engine received.  It’s fluid, but not quite as smooth and transition-friendly as Wind Waker’s.

1080° Snowboarding

Banjo-Kazooie

Body Harvest

F-Zero X

Forsaken (video game)

International Superstar Soccer 98

Jade Cocoon: Story of the Tamamayu

Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete

Mario Party (video game)

Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes

Mega Man & Bass

Metal Gear Solid

Metal Slug 2

Mission: Impossible (1998 video game)

Parasite Eve (video game)

Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers

Resident Evil 2

Half Life

Space Station Silicon Valley

Spyro the Dragon (video game)

SpikeOut

StarCraft

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron

Street Fighter Alpha 3

The Last Blade 2

Turok 2: Seeds of Evil

Unreal

Back to 1997Forward to 1999

Song Highlights: Mario Kart 64, Mega Man 2, Body Harvest, Muramasa: The Demon Blade

I’ve been in a game music mood lately (which ought to be obvious, given the amount of said posts these last few weeks), so here’s more excellent songs from gaming’s pantheon.

Mario Kart 64 – Credits (Kenta Nagata, N64, Nintendo)

I think the Nintendo 64 and Mario credit music were made to compliment each other.  I love this song.  It’s a delightful romp, one that is a fitting conclusion to the tense racing action you just faced (and conquered, with any luck!).  Well done, Nagata-san.

Mega Man 2 – Wood Man (Ogeretsu Kun, Manami Ietel & Yoshihiro Sakaguchi [Yuukichan's Papa], NES, Capcom)

Mega Man 2 had to be included on here at some point, and my first pick from this extraordinary soundtrack is the theme of Wood Man.  It’s got such a unique, odd opening to it that any cover I’ve heard has not managed to recapture it just right.  The remainder of the track, a fast-paced, wild-sounding track, is a perfect fit for the forest beasts Mega Man has to square off with.

Body Harvest – Inside* (Stuart Ross and Allan Walker, N64, DMA Design)

The entire Body Harvest soundtrack is melancholy, but this one particular piano piece has always stood out as a fabulously eerie song.  It captures a tenseness that the hero must feel, despite the temporary respite of being indoors.  The alien menace that is surrounding him may not be able to attack Adam (the protagonist) inside, but the music reminds the player that they still are out there, waiting for him to return to their battlegrounds.  A fantastic aria.

* = I don’t have track names for this soundtrack, so I’m naming it for where it was used.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade – Seifu Meigetsu A (Noriyuki Kamikura, Wii, Vanillaware/Marvelous)

This is one of the first field themes you hear in Muramasa, and it proved to be one of the best.  It’s got an excellent rhythm to it that perfectly suits the wanderings of your avatar, and also works in a lot of interesting instrumentation that ties into the Japanese culture and history it’s drawing from.  A solid track indeed.

Artistic Discussion: The Good and Bad of Gaming Box Art – 3/10/2010

Good – Pikmin 2 (GC, Nintendo)

Nintendo’s excellent use of clay models made Pikmin 2′s cover stand out.  This is an eye-catching action scene, with everything you need to know about Pikmin 2.  New Pikmin?  Louie?  New monsters?  2 players?  All covered in one fell swoop.  The use of the lilypad as a raft is clever, too, showing how small our plucky heroes and their adversaries are.  All of Pikmin 2′s ad work was fantastic, and this is a shining example of it.

Bad – Body Harvest (N64, Midway/DMA Design)

Unfortunately, Body Harvest got saddled with a rather blase cover.  You can barely tell that’s the Earth behind the humongous logo, and while the mantis-like alien isn’t terrible, most of its render has been shoved into the background.  Another problem – this cover barely expresses what the game’s even about.  You’re hardly in space in the game, and the time-traveling heroes are nowhere to be found.  Outside of the title, you wouldn’t guess that humans are fodder for our insect armies – it just looks like they want to destroy the planet here.

Just to provide contrast, here’s the European cover:

Doesn’t that box make you want to learn more about this game?  Our heroes are front-and-center, there’s dead bugs and firearms, the city’s on fire, and it looks like it’s pure chaos…which isn’t too far off of the premise of Body Harvest.  Can you gleam any of that from the NA cover?  That’s a negative.  Even the logo’s cooler (and is the ACTUAL logo used in the game).  And the black sidebar is very classy.  Alas, Midway went their own way with our Body Harvest, and it’s boring, uninspiring and disappointing.

The Making of Body Harvest

Body Harvest happens to be one of my favorite N64 games, yet I knew little of its development history.  I knew that it was a little tumultuous, but man.  I had no idea how involved Nintendo was (they even requested DMA Design to make it a RPG!), nor did I know that the dev team had so many hardships in its creation.  EDGE has a great piece on the game up on its site that I heartily recommend.

Body Harvest (N64)

bh

Body Harvest

Body Harvest

Body Harvest (N64)
Pub: Midway
Dev: DMA Design/Nintendo
Rating: T/Players: 1

Body Harvest was a N64 title that was developed by DMA Design, assisted by Nintendo and published by Midway right around Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s debut. Despite featuring unimpressive first-gen graphics in a second-gen era, BH packs enough unique (at the time) gameplay ideas, huge areas to explore, plenty of challenge and fairly solid (but a little stiff) controls to earn a very treasured place in my heart.

However, I have a lot of reason to believe that Body Harvest helped inspire the creation of Grand Theft Auto 3. How’s that, do you ask? You’re a thug in GTA and a time-traveling space marine in BH…how could those be related? The comparison is not the main character or the setting, but instead the gameplay ideas I mentioned above.

Grand Theft Auto 3 and its sequels thrive on the fact that you can hop into any vehicle in the area at any time. Well, Body Harvest helped pioneer that well before GTA3 came out (granted, the original 2D GTA had carhopping before BH, but I have a hunch BH helped DMA figure out how to implement the mechanic in 3D GTA’s). Body Harvest is a third-person shooter, with rather responsive aiming, dodge moves and a variety of weapons. By holding the R button, the camera swings behind your character and an aiming cross hair appears, letting you quickly aim and blast the alien bugs trying to ravage the planet. The C buttons help you dodge and also perform a useful quick turn (although it takes a second for the camera to catch up), in case an alien was about to nibble on your back. GTA3′s gunplay works in the third-person with its shooting controls, too, although I’ve heard they’re not as responsive or effective as they could be (my GTA experience is about 4-6 hours on Vice City…so I’m not the greatest judge*). You can shoot from cars in both games. Both games have their fair share of blood. Both games let you shoot up civilians (although it is highly unadvised to do so in BH, as it helps the aliens win). And both games are huge, with tons of areas to explore and secrets to find.

I doubt all of these add up to coincidences, since DMA Design (now known as Rockstar North) developed both games. I just have a hunch BH was a springboard to the far more successful GTA3 and its sequels. But I want to let you know that BH is a fine game in its own right. It’s loaded with huge levels in 5 time zones, features several different bugs to blast, tons of boss encounters, a scoring system at the end of levels (for a classic retro homage to shooters of old), somewhat destructible environments (you and the aliens can destroy some houses and just about all of the vehicles), human civilians to protect (quick explanation: your hero must prevent the aliens from harvesting the human civilians scattered in towns and cities. As the aliens harvest them, the game’s world becomes more unpleasant as the aliens gain strength – a meter tells you how many humans have been harvested, and if it fills all the way up, it’s Game Over man!), many different vehicles to pilot ranging from boats, motorcycles, tanks, cars, trucks and planes, a few clever puzzles, a decent storyline, simplistic yet surprisingly enjoyable music, codes and cheats of many varieties, replayability through different difficulties, the ability to revisit past areas to find hidden items and improve high scores, and the aforementioned controls, challenge and game design. The graphics aren’t pretty (even by N64 standards), and it’s not perfect, but the game is loaded with plenty of charming qualities and is a very fun game regardless of how it looks…which is the important thing, right? Highly recommended! ^^

* = Since this opinion was written, I have dabbled with GTA: San Andreas and Liberty City Stories, and yes, I was correct. The shooting is clunky. Body Harvest is much less so.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 140 other followers