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

Virtual Console No-Shows: The Super NES and Nintendo 64 Games of Rare

Since Japan is giving the Virtual Console a break (for I believe the first time in the Wii’s lifetime!), it’s fitting to do a massive Virtual Console No-Shows piece, and I have the perfect topic lined up.  A while back I compiled a list of Rare’s NES originals, and the unlikelihood of Virtual Console gamers ever seeing any of them appear on the service.  Now, let’s look at the 16-bit and 64-bit contributions Rare made (most of which were with Nintendo).  I’m skipping Rare’s Genesis efforts, as the three games they produced for Tradewest were merely remakes and/or sequels to RC Pro AM, Snake Rattle and Roll, and Battletoads, which I covered well enough in my last article.  I will cover the one true sequel to Battletoads that appeared on home consoles here, though.

Battletoads in Battlemaniacs (SNES)

Brief Synopsis – The first true sequel to Battletoads (minus the Double Dragon connection), Rare took the beat-em-up concepts of the original to even crazier heights.

The Chances? – About as good as the NES original’s, which is to say, not much.  It’s not 100% certain who owns it nowadays.  Rare did release one title without Tradewest’s help, the arcade Battletoads, which was the last in the franchise up to this point, so I’d suspect it to be theirs.  If that is indeed the case, then it’s never going to pop up on the Wii.

Ken Griffey’s Winning Run (SNES)


Brief Synopsis – Rare’s last sports title before the now-in-development Kinect Sports, this put Seattle Mariners star Ken Griffey Jr. onto the video game map (Nintendo owns the Mariners, just to point that out).

The Chances – One major factor works against this game – licensing.  While Nintendo did not license any MLB players beyond their at-the-time star Griffey Jr., he’s long been separated from the Mariners, and I bet Nintendo doesn’t want to regain the license to reuse his name and likeness from over a decade ago.  Alongside that, they’d have to relicense all of the team names.  They also could go the Tecmo Bowl route and strip out all that, but it is Ken Griffey Jr.’s Winning Run.  Don’t expect it.

Killer Instinct (Arcade, SNES) and Killer Instinct Gold (Arcade as Killer Instinct 2, N64)


Brief Synopsis – Rare’s stab at the fighting genre featured 3D models rendered as high quality sprites, which was impressive for the time.  The gameplay was heavily combo-oriented, coining the phrase “dial-a-combo”.  It played up the violence factor, too, giving Nintendo an entry point into the mature market it had previously been ignoring or censoring.

The Chances? – Rare owns the IP, so it’s a Microsoft property.  See this interview at 1UP with Rare’s studio manager Mark Betteridge:

1UP: If [the original] Banjo is successful on Xbox Live Arcade, is there any chance that we might see some of your other classics come back?

MB: Sure! It’s something that we’ve been looking at. It’s all about building a platform where we can do that stuff without impacting the newer things here. It would be great if we could get Killer Instinct coin-op on there. We get e-mails all the time saying, “Can we just get that? You’re not doing anything at lunch! Get it done.” [Laughs] We’re constantly looking at avenues of bringing products to a new audience or a wider audience. Banjo has gotten a lot of good response on XBLA. We’re excited about that. We were testing it with some people and [asking], “What do you think about it?” Some were like “Great!” Other people were like “Never heard of it; I was only two.” It’s 10 years old, and they’re 12. [Laughs] I don’t have anything to announce specifically, but as a studio we’d like to see some more of our products on there.

Sorry, folks.

Blast Corps (N64)


Brief Synopsis – Take control of a multitude of demolition machinery to quickly destroy obstacles in a runaway nuclear warhead carrier’s path.  Rare also crammed a heap of bonus stages into the mix for some diversity.

The Chances? – According to the deal Microsoft made with Nintendo for the purchase of Rare, all of Rare’s properties outside of the ones that were Nintendo licenses (Donkey Kong and Starfox, for the record) would transfer over to Rare.  See this interview with Chris Stamper, Tim Stamper and Ed Fries way back when the acquisition happened at Video Games Daily:

With hindsight, I mean obviously you don’t because you had to do what you did, but do you sort of feel it’s a shame that you developed a lot of IP that you’ve had to let go of now?

Chris: Well, the two properties that go back to Nintendo are Donkey Kong and Star Fox. The rest of the IP actually comes back to Rare. We have a very good relationship with Nintendo it all worked out in the end.

So the likelihood of Blast Corps. seeing a revival on the Wii is pretty poor.

Diddy Kong Racing (N64)


Brief Synopsis – Diddy Kong and friends compete with three different kinds of vehicles in this Mario Kart-insipred arcade racer.  It also had boss fights and a hub world, a little unusual for this type of game.

The Chances? – Better than the rest of this list, and yet still terrible.  Why?  Two major reasons are likely to stop DKR from seeing a Virtual Console release, and they are Banjo and Conker.  These characters transferred over to Rare’s stable during the switch to becoming Microsoft developers, and would need to be removed from the game to have any sort of chance…which would then cripple the game, as two of the eight racers would be gone.  It could be argued that alternative characters would replace Banjo and Conker, but Rare’s already done that once with the enhanced DS port of the game, the fatal strike against it making any sort of appearance elsewhere.  Why would Nintendo work on modifying a N64 game when there’s a reworked port already out there for consumers to pay more money for?

Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie (N64)


Brief Synopsis – 3D platformers that built upon Super Mario 64′s foundation with lots of character moves, a vast collection of items to gather, an abundance of quirky levels, and some of the more interesting end-games in platformer history.

The Chances? – Nil, as Rare’s put up enhanced ports on Xbox Live for the 360.  But you can get them there, so that’s something!

Jet Force Gemini (N64)


Brief Synopsis – Twins Juno and Vela, alongside their robo-dog Lupus, blast their way through heaps of alien insects in this fine 3D action/shooter.

The Chances? – Rare’s been sneaking cameos of JFG into Viva Pinata and Kameo: Elements of Power, so it’s fairly obvious they still have the rights to this.  Hopefully it too will see a remake on Xbox Live.

Perfect Dark (N64)


Brief Synopsis – The spiritual sequel to Goldeneye, this FPS continued the objective-based shooting action, but put the setting into the far future, and threw in more space-age weapons, gadgets and setpieces.

The Chances? – Like the Banjo games, Perfect Dark is waiting for Xbox 360 Live owners to download it.

Mickey’s Speedway USA (N64)


Brief Synopsis – A racing game with Mickey and friends at the wheel.  It’s a lot like Mario Kart or Diddy Kong Racing in terms of gameplay.  This is probably the lowest point of Rare’s output on the N64.

The Chances? – A double-whammy of a no here: Rare’s development of the title and the re-licensing of the Mickey Mouse franchise would be nigh-impossible to release on the VC.  I’d be very surprised if it did show its face.

Conker’s Bad Fur Day (N64)


Brief Synopsis – Conker’s twist on the 3D platformer formula was crude, sadistic and twisted…and mostly well-regarded.  It went against the grain of the typical cutesy platformer mascot, with lots of sexual innuendo, over-the-top violence and a high frequency of profane words and actions.

The Chances? – Conker’s seen a remake on the original Xbox, so I think the screenshot gives you a good indicator of its odds. ;)

Goldeneye 007 and Donkey Kong 64 were covered with their own articles.

Rare’s output under Nintendo’s wing (and even before!) was amazing, and I feel that their games greatly helped Nintendo while they were a part of the publisher’s stable.  Donkey Kong Country was a smash-hit that helped Nintendo push ahead late in the 16-bit wars, Goldeneye redefined the FPS, and the rest of Rare’s catalog during this time helped fill in the gaps in between Nintendo’s own releases (and at times exceeded their products!).  It’s unfortunate that Wii owners will miss out on their extensive history, but that is how the ball bounces in this case.  Anyone who tracks down a NES, Super NES or Nintendo 64 can relive Rare’s glory days fairly easily, and, in my opinion, it’s worth the investment to do so.

Skedar King (Perfect Dark) and Blue Drop (Secret of Mana) – Atrocious Enemy Encounters

Cheap Boss that Sucks – Skedar King (Perfect Dark, N64)

It took some brain rattling, but spotting a clip of how to take down the final alien foe in Rare’s otherwise entertaining Perfect Dark reminded me how much I felt betrayed and disappointed in the game’s climax.  Unlike all of the other battles in the game, you’ll not only be unloading your clips into the giant Skedar leader to defeat him – you’ll need to weaken him some, and after he kneels down, you’ll have to refocus your shots onto the shielded points above him (dead center of the screen) in order to impale him with one of the spikes, which equals victory for you.  However, the game poorly directed you towards that particular objective, forcing an agonizing amount of game time pondering why I couldn’t kill the damn alien, and then I ran out of ammo, which is a problem.  After the always-wonderful replaying of the stage to get back to the showdown, I was clued off by the strategy guide that I had to do some obtuse target shooting in order to win, which I felt was a rather unsatisfying way of dealing with this bastard who had led so much carnage and malice upon Joanna and her allies in the game’s plot.  I can hear some people saying, that screen seems to indicate that the statue is shielded, which shows that it can be shot.  Well, maybe so, but since the shield is yellow, and the walls are about the same shade of yellow, and I have been shooting Skedar left and right with bullets, not with stone obelisks, plus the game’s never asked you to use the environment as a weapon before this point, and the best hint Elvis gives you is what you see on the screen…feh.  I’ve never replayed this stage since.

Vile Enemy from Hell –Blue Drop (Secret of Mana, SNES)

These foes are the definition of atrocious enemy designs.  They are hard to hit, dodging many of your attacks with relative ease.  They have high HP, so they take forever to take down.  But the ultimate kicker of why these slime variants are so awful is that they can duplicate themselves.  Many times.  That is massive suckage.  Seeing a blue drop pop up in this game is a moral-shattering event, and you’ll either bypass these by running from them or spend minutes praying you’ll kill them before they split into two (which is all too rare, alas).  The only benefit these assholes have is decent experience (that does not translate into good times for the player-kind of experience).  Hate these things with a passion.

Song Highlights – Dragon Quest VIII, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Perfect Dark, Resident Evil 4


Dragon Quest VIII – Strange World (Overworld Theme on foot, PS2, Square-Enix, Koichi Sugiyama)

The decision to revamp Dragon Quest VIII’s music overseas was a brilliant stroke of genius.  I haven’t heard the original tunes, but honestly, I don’t need to.  This beautiful orchestral version of DQVIII’s default adventuring theme is about as perfect as one could ask for.  It’s peaceful, and captures the mood Level-5 set with its overworld.  As a bonus, this merges into the Great Sabercat theme halfway, which is also lovely.


Super Smash Bros. Brawl – Butter Building [Kirby's Adventure] (Halbard, Wii, Nintendo, Jun Fukuda)

Butter Building happens to be one of the cooler tunes in Kirby’s Adventure, and Jun Fukuda amazingly resurrected it for Brawl’s meaty soundtrack.  This is a hyperactive take on the source (which is a little more subdued in the original), with plenty of sugary guitars and techno beats driving the mix.  When I first heard this piece, it quickly became one of my favorites.  What a fantastic way to bring this classic back.  And I strongly believe that Butter Building has some sort of magical remix potential, seeing that OC Remix’s Darangen tackled this source with the same success for a Kirby’s Adventure album a few years back:


Perfect Dark – Chicago: Stealth (N64, Rare, Grant Kirkhope, Graeme Norgate, David Clynick)

Perfect Dark’s Chicago area is a slum patrolled by robotic police who will shoot you on sight.  The mood of this stage is somber and depressive, and its downtrodden music is more than fitting.  I always play Multiplayer with this tune, even though it’s not the most engaging material to deathmatch with…I just like it that much.


Resident Evil 4 – Sorrow: Ending Credits (Gamecube, Capcom, Misao Senbongi, Shusaku Uchiyama)

This is exactly how a piece of music is supposed to switch emotions.  The ending begins in an upbeat note, with the villagers living happy lives, but once the Los Illuminados and the Plagas are introduced, the song plummets into despair.  I loved RE4, and seeing how the villagers became the twisted parasitic hosts Leon tangled with was a fabulous idea, and this music drove the point home.

Artistic Discussion: The Good and Bad of Gaming Box Art – 4/30/2010

Another one of those weeks where I don’t have as much time to devote to these as I’d like, so here’s some older posts from my old site, dolled up with some new wordage.

Good – Perfect Dark (N64, Rare)

I don’t know if I’m in the minority here, but I’ve always felt that Perfect Dark had a strong, striking box. It has Joanna front and center, Elvis reflecting off of her eyes, a gun prominently featured, and lots of that dark stuff the title suggests. Despite the massive leaps in modeling technology we’ve seen since 2001, Joanna still looks fairly human, if you ask me. All and all, a cover that effectively captured what it’s all about with one poignant image.

Bad – Capcom Vs. SNK 2 EO (Gamecube, Capcom)

This is another great example of Photoshop Layer Paste 101. It took me years to realize that is actually Geese lurking behind Kim (I’ve been staring at that hobo-looking guy wondering where he is on the roster all this time!). And, as much as I like Sagat, Kyosuke, Kim and Could-be-Geese, I’d think, maybe, that Ryu, Terry, Chun-Li and Mai would have been a better train of thought for this route. Or, perhaps, if I may present these as alternatives instead:

This one above was the actual cover in Japan and Europe for the PS2 original. The original poster of this doesn’t include Dhalsim, Vice and Mai and the top left corner, but it worked nicely to fill some empty space.

This was the European EO cover.

Both of these are dynamic, awe-inspiring covers that highlight Shinriko’s art and the passionate characters SNK and Capcom both have. The NA EO box is lazy and dull compared to these. After Super SFIV continuing on this sordid display of box art apathy, I’d like to petition for a ceasefire on Character Composit covers and instead using the DAMN PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS. That is what they are for, yes?

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