Video Game Music of the Week – 28.01-03.02.2013

SNK are known for the notoriety of their fighting game bosses… But back in the day, games were just much more difficult than they are now. To beat a game was an achievement in itself, and some games took it even further. Take Rare’s Battletoads, an NES gem and probably one of the first games people (at least those who have played NES games) will think of if you ask them to name incredibly hard games. It’s a huge hurdle to even make it past a quarter of the game, and playing co-op actually made your job harder rather than easier. Aside from the difficulty, the game also had some really rad music, with the Pause theme being particularly popular (in more recent times, partly also thanks to AVGN). And this week, I’m sharing one of them with you – Stage 2’s theme.

Composer: David Wise
Game: Battletoads
Song: Wookie Hole

Video Game Music of the Week – 21-27.01.2013

With games like Samurai Shodown, Neo Geo was the heaven for fighting game fans. But, of course, the true flagship of the console was SNK’s King of Fighters series, uniting stars from various former SNK franchises. True to the name, the games provide an amazing 2D fighting experience. Today, I’ve chosen a song from one of the last King of Fighters installment on the trusty and quite old by then Neo Geo hardware, The King of Fighters 2003. The theme I’ve chosen is called “Splendid Evil”, and is the theme song of the game’s newly introduced anti-hero, Ash Crimson. Just like last week’s theme, it is composed by the acclaimed SNK composer Tate Norio.

Composer: Yasuo Yamate (a.k.a Tate Norio)
Game: The King of Fighters 2003
Song: Splendid Evil

Mass Effect 3

Already since the first game, I felt that the Mass Effect series was the grandest undertaking of the current console generation. And now, having finished the trilogy, I am absolutely certain of it. While none of the individual games are perfect, this is one of those cases where the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts. The vast, detailed universe (actually, that is just the Milky Way galaxy) BioWare have created, with all the different intelligent species, with hundreds of planets, with complex political relationships, is beautiful. Just beautiful. I can only think of a handful of cases in the history of gaming where comparable amounts of effort have been put into crafting a game/series’ universe. And Mass Effect may actually be THE most complex one of all.

Since I first played the game quite a few months after it came out, I couldn’t help expecting a mess of an ending, as that was the almost unanimous opinion among gamers on the internet. However, I can now safely say that those claims are incorrect. Mass Effect 3 provides a very fascinating conclusion, staying true to the principles of the series. It’s natural that there are people who don’t like it, but, given the size of the saga, there is no possible ending that couldn’t have ticked someone off. So fear not, BioWare did NOT mess up with Mass Effect’s ending. It’s a fitting conclusion to the saga.

Mass Effect 3 Cover

Game: Mass Effect 3
Developer: BioWare
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360; Wii U
Original release: 2012
Territories: All

The third game in the series is another solid entry. Like the second one, it improves on some things in the predecessor, but is then weaker in other aspects. The thrilling struggle against the Reapers and the brilliant finale have Mass Effect easily leapfrog the second game in terms of overall story. Sadly, it doesn’t hold up as far as conversations/development of your teammates goes (even though we are already familiar with a great part of them). Annoying gameplay features from the second game like streamlined stats distribution as opposed to precise, point-by-point growth, and thermal clips (ammo), sadly remain here. Neat things like hacking are completely gone. It was clearly important for BioWare to keep the game tuned for the average gamer and maximise its sales. But those issues still do not detract much from the overall excellence of Mass Effect 3.

Seeing as I played the game on PC, this is another review where I provide my own screenshots.

Read full review

Video Game Music of the Week – 14-20.01.2013

For this week, I’ve chosen music from another arcade hit on the immortal Neo Geo – SNK’s Samurai Shodown. The Samurai Shodown games are among the finest fighting games ever created, and easily the best weapon-based ones. There are plenty of awesome songs in the whole series, the one I’ve chosen here is Earthquake’s theme, Ground. It’s an awesome mix of heavy metal and Japanese traditional music, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Composers: Yasuo Yamate (a.k.a Tate Norio), Masahiko Hataya (a.k.a. Papaya)
Game: Samurai Shodown
Song: Ground

Video Game Music of the Week – 07-13.01.2013

The first video game music of the week to be posted in 2013 comes from another arcade shooter – Sammy’s Viewpoint on SNK’s glorious Neo Geo. I remember the game being insanely difficult with its rather weird isometric view, I don’t think I ever made it past the first stage. On the other hand, the music was quite groovy, and thus, I’m sharing the first stage song with you.

Composers: Sizla, Masaki Kase, Megumi M.
Game: Viewpoint
Song: Not There At All