Who remembers Skies of Arcadia? I certainly do since I played it over this summer. It was quite the game, one of the most memorable I (re)played this year, and it has quite the soundtrack too. Like most RPGs it’s an epic affair – 67 tracks with a run time of nearly two and a half hours. Overall it’s an enjoyable score with some real standouts, but if I had to name one track that has burrowed its way into my consciousness these past few months it’d be the final boss theme.
This may very well be the happiest final boss theme ever laid down for a game. The second half especially is a spectacular uber-triumphant-angels-singing moment that I never want to end. Thank you Sega and Overworks for bringing us this gem!
Panzer Dragoon Saga and Final Fantasy had a child and its name is Skies of Arcadia. (Actually, technically, Phantasy Star should replace Final Fantasy here since the Skies of Arcadia studio was made up of ex-Phantasy Star and ex-Panzer Dragoon staff. Without having played any Phantasy Star though, I feel more comfortable comparing this with Final Fantasy.) Nevertheless, this child of two franchises peddles more child-friendly content than either of its parents. The exploits of a few teenage Robin Hood-like pirates facing a cartoonishly evil empire covers most of the plot. As you might expect, there are definitely aspects of Skies of Arcadia Legends that are a bit formulaic and a little bland, especially in the story and characters. Continue reading
I’ve been trying to pin down the precise differences between console- and arcade-style games. I’ve never been especially confident in how to explain the appeal of personal arcade favourites like Time Crisis 2, House of the Dead 2, Metal Slug, and too many shooters to name, over the meatier games associated with consoles. It’s not that I don’t like console games – far from it! – but I associate the short, intense and replayable experiences of arcade games with gaming on a deep level. Analysing the qualities that make arcade games special is the main topic of this post, but it comes courtesy of an unlikely source: the console-only Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. Continue reading
Last year there were some absolute corkers that I didn’t write about, incredible stuff that was all the more tragic for the lack of dedicated blog posts: Sky Odyssey (PS2), Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii), Metroid: Other M (Wii), Trauma Team (Wii), Dragon Force (Saturn), the list goes on. By comparison, this year has burnt a little less brightly. It’s not that the games haven’t been good – they have been. Apart from a few exceptions though, they’ve not left as deep an impression, not cut me to the core, in the same way as the absurd theatrical masterpiece that is Disaster: Day of Crisis. These are some of the most wonderful (and weird) games I played last year. Continue reading
Most Mario games teach us nothing needs to make sense to be fun. This is something Miyamoto understood profoundly when he created a colourful cast comprising of an Italian plumber, a dinosaur with a saddle, a hapless princess who bakes, and a giant turtle/dragon nemesis named after plumbing equipment. However, in the late nineties and early noughties, some bright spark decided that players wanted to see their beloved characters in realistic – even edgy – situations for dramatic effect. Super Mario Sunshine (Gamecube) is probably one of the worst victims of this trend (which also gave us Sonic taking a commuter train in Sonic Adventure, and Shadow the Hedgehog – ’nuff said). No wonder Miyamoto is so against stories in games!
In this mini movie we discover that Mario loves succulent seafood, that the Isle Delfino is rife with corruption, that hoses can be philosophical cell mates, and that Peach may be Bowser Junior’s mother. In conclusion: I never want to see a court-room-cum-baby-mama-drama in a Mario game ever again! Leave that to Judge Judy, or the Final Fantasy series. Also, who knew that Peach had the original Kylie Jenner pout?!