Video Game Music of the Week – 24-30.09.2012

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

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Dragon Quest IV

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.

Dragon Warrior IV Cover

Game: Dragon Quest IV
Developer: ChunSoft
Platform: NES
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.

Read full review

Video Game Music of the Week – 17-23.09.2012

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

Magnificent Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes trailer

I know I am almost 2 weeks late with my comments on this, but it only became available to the public after I had gone on vacation. On the event celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the best series in gaming – the Metal Gear series, Kojima showed a breath-taking trailer of the new and upcoming game in the saga – Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. In the off-chance that you haven’t seen it, here it is:

The most important story bits, with my short comments:

  • Cipher references, Paz and Chico have been captured – this means the ties with Peace Walker will be strong
  • Big Boss is aging – the game will most likely take place some 8-10 years after Peace Walker
  • Young kid in a cage shown – might be Chico, but, considering the game takes place a while after Peace Walker, Chico must’ve grown up! So it must be little Solid Snake! There has been very strong evidence that child Solid Snake will be in the next Metal Gear chapter
  • “From FOX, two phantoms were born”, FOX vs. XOF – Big Boss has the FOX logo on his shoulder, while the seemingly bad guys have XOF emblems on their equipment and machinery, in an opposing colour scheme (the fox is also facing right instead of left). Could the quote be referring to The Boss’ legacy, and Big Boss and Zero’s respective takes on it?
  • Mysterious man with a burned face, wearing a fedora shown as the likely villain of the game (leader of the XOF guys) – who could it be? Maybe Zero, considering the above thoughts? Or maybe just someone working for him?
  • “Army without a nation” still mentioned – Big Boss is probably still working towards his grand mission, even if he is part of FOX (could also be using FOX for his purposes)

Other details:

  • Uses the FOX engine – the new engine Kojima has been talking about for a while now
  • Runs on PC with specs comparable to PS3/360 – considering the dated hardware, it looks very impressive – the rain, the visual details, the character models (especially Big Boss)
  • PS3 and 360 logos appear at the end – seems like the game will come out on PS3/360, probably as one of the last big titles on those systems. Still, I’m having a hard time buying it – with PS4/720 reportedly launching around the holiday season of 2013, it would make much more sense to develop such a massive game on the new platforms.

As a whole, I am impressed… Very impressed, and very excited. I’d like to learn more about Big Boss, about his motives, about how Outer Heaven came to be. This game seems like it will offer a lot, maybe all those details. I am also pleased that Kojima is keeping his word regarding Metal Gear Solid 4 being the end of the saga, chronologically. That way, Metal Gear is keeping its artistic integrity, while still releasing games filling the gap between Solid 3 and the original Metal Gear.

Video Game Music of the Week – 10-16.09.2012

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

Video Game Music of the Week – 03-09.09.2012

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