This Week in Games
by Heidi Kemps,
It sure is summer, alright. I'm going to Las Vegas late next week for EVO, but it feels like I'm already there, as it's been in the high 90s all week. A lot of apartments here in Portland don't have air conditioning, mine included, and keeping a console or a PC on for a long time only makes it worse. I can't wait to be at the Mandalay Bay with that sweet, sweet AC going full blast.
This week, I was going to give a mini-review of Groove Coaster for Steam, but… the game refuses to play nice with any of my many, many USB controllers, the official workaround doesn't seem to help, and keyboard play is painful since I use a small-ish laptop. Taito, Degica, please fix this! I'm jonesing for some grooves!
Other than that, I'm devoting a lot of time to a playing particular review game I can't name yet, but I seem to have run into a brick wall and am horribly stuck… which, seeing as tough puzzles were a big thing in this game's predecessor, was practically bound to happen. Man, let me tell you, nothing's more infuriating than getting stuck in an early review game because you can't just run to GameFAQs when the going gets rough. In some cases when I get stuck, I can look up a Japanese wiki and use that info, but seeing as how this one isn't even out in Japan yet… well, much as I'm enjoying the game, I hate the feeling of beating my head against a seemingly immovable object. But it's going to get done!
Bleh, I've done enough whining to start this week out. Let's talk about some news, and then have a little bit of fun, shall we?
TAKENOBU MITSUYOSHI IS SINGING HIS HEART OUT ABOUT F-ZERO IN SMASH ULTIMATE
The Final Fantasy VII remake could be revealed in full tomorrow, but as far as I'm concerned, it'd still be only the second most important piece of gaming news this week, because god among men Takenobu Mitsuyoshi is composing an F-Zero medley for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Who is Takenobu Mitsuyoshi, you ask? He's well-known among the devout Sega people (me) for composing a whole mess of music for assorted Sega games. You most likely know him for the music from Daytona USA. Here he is singing Daytona music. Just look at how happy and excited he is! His enthusiasm is downright infectious!
I am fortunate enough to have seen him perform live and, yes, he is this pumped all the time. It's the best.
He's also known to do guest compositions outside of Sega from time to time, working on things like a Daytona/Ridge Racer medley, a remade version of the classic track Daddy Mulk from Taito's The Ninja Warriors… but perhaps the most infamous of these is the Ryu song from a Street Fighter tribute album, which is amazing in so many ways.
So when it came time to make some new compositions for Smash Ultimate, there was only one logical choice for a new F-Zero song.
Alas, it's only a short sample of the track, but my god, I never knew I needed a Takenobu Mitsuyoshi F-Zero composition until right now. I know the first thing I'm doing when Smash Ultimate lands in my room.
Also, let Sega make a new F-Zero. Or at least remaster GX.
YOSHIFUMI HASHIMOTO HAS A NEW STUDIO
I'm ashamed to admit that I keep on confusing Yoshifumi Hashimoto and Yasuhiro Wada. They're both people who are instrumental in the history of the Harvest Moon series (or what's known now as Story of Seasons… it's complicated), they both worked for Marvelous, Inc. for quite some time, and their names both start with Y. That's my excuse!
While Wada has struck out on his own with his company Toy Box (and is currently making Little Dragons Café), Hashimoto has stuck around at Marvelous for a good, long while. Last week, however, he announced that he's forming a new studio called Hakama. But it's not as big of a change as you might expect… because Hakama is still owned wholesale by Marvelous, Inc. So, what's the point? I'm not entirely sure of the reasoning behind this, but I'm sure it involves a whole mess of business buzzwords.
Their first game is the mysterious Dragon: Marked for Death, which they're co-developing with Inti Creates – wait, Hashimoto is also making a game with Dragon in the title? Goddammit, those two are absolutely out to mess with me!
A NEW PHANTASY STAR GAME IS COMING
Before you get too excited: it's a mobile game.
Now, that's not necessarily a death sentence -- I enjoy many mobile games! -- but this one really looks like generic, warmed-over mobile RPG booty buttcheeks with little to do with PS.
You do classic, turn-base combat and you can't even replicate the classic Phantasy Star head-on view? For shame.
But hey, at least Shin Megami Tensei DX2 is out in English now, and that's a mobile RPG spinoff that's actually pretty fun and stays close to the source material! Unlike... whatever this is.
FIGHTING GAME NEWS ROUNDUP: TRAILERS AHOY
It ain't Soul Calibur without Voldo…
And it ain't Dragon Ball without Goku.
CLASSIC COLLECTION CRAZINESS: DREAM COMPILATIONS
This week doesn't have much in the way of new releases, but the two Megaman X Legacy Collections have been eagerly anticipated by a lot of fans. These two games cover the whole of the console Megaman X series in all its highs and lows (good lord, this series is extremely inconsistent), and spans platforms from the SNES all the way up to the PlayStation 2. I'm looking through both sets now and plan to talk more about them next week.
Megaman X Legacy Collection is just the latest of many retro compilation packages. We live in a day and age where you can cram a whole ton of retro games onto a single disc -- along with a wealth of quality supplemental material like art galleries, historical overviews, making-of features, even multiple versions of each game for the completionists out there. There are so many other series out there I'd love to see get this sort of treatment.
BUBBLE BOBBLE HISTORY COLLECTION
What'd be on it: All three Bubble Bobble arcade games (Bubble Bobble, Bubble Symphony, Bubble Memories), for starters. Then we could throw in some of the various Bubble Bobble ports, like the NES, Master System, and X68000 versions, along with the NES Bubble Bobble 2. We could do the same thing for Rainbow Islands, because lord knows that game was ported to almost every console and European PC format under the sun. Parasol Stars is relatively obscure -- It was only released on the TurboGrafx-16 and the European NES – but it's a fantastic game and more series fans should play it, so that'd need to be in the set, too. That's already a lot, but if we really wanted to go hog wild, we could toss some Puzzle Bobble in there as well. I guess we could also put that weird Wiiware Bubble Bobble Plus! in the set, too, but I'd honestly rather forget that one happened… still, gotta be complete. As for extras, anything that could explain the surprisingly confusing Bubble Bobble timeline would be quite welcome.
Likelihood: Taito's already doing the Darius Cozmic Collection, so it's not a stretch to see them extending the classic treatment to other big series under their umbrella.
VIRTUA FIGHTER 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
What'd be on it: I'm an unrepentant Virtua Fighter nerd, and I can talk all day about how much of the series has never received arcade perfect ports. Well, with a big ol’ 25th anniversary collection, we could fix that quite easily! We'd start with VF1 and VF2, throw on all those odd Saturn CG Portrait discs, add various revisions of VF3 and VF3tb, sprinkle in VF4, VF4 Evolution, and VF4 Final Tuned, and maybe put in VF5, VF5R, and VF5 Final Showdown as well. What about Virtua Fighter Animation and Virtua Quest? Yeah, we can slide those in as unlockables. For the extras, we can have the usual concept art galleries, original and arranged soundtracks… and how about tossing Virtua Fighter Costomize Clip on there as well? It's the other VF anime nobody knows about, and it's nuts.
Likelihood: Model 1 and 3 emulation is supposedly pretty tough, but Sega-AM2 has the technical know-how to make it happen. I mean, something's gotta happen for the 25th anniversary of VF, right?
CASTLEVANIA: FROM THE CRYPTS COLLECTION
What'd be on it: There's a whole lot of vampire killing in Konami's history, and it's honestly surprising that no compilation of classic Castlevania titles has ever been released besides that odd PSP Dracula X set. You gotta have the NES Castlevanias on there, of course – though players should be given an option of Famicom VRC-6 music for Castlevania III. We can add the Gameboy Castlevania Adventure games on there, too, along with that weird Castlevania Legends game that got retconned out of existence. Then we drop in Super Castlevania IV, Bloodlines, and of course Dracula X – though we'd want both the SNES and PC Engine versions for completeness. Castlevania 64 and Legacy of Darkness need to be in too, of course. Then come all the non-DS IGA-vanias: Symphony of the Night, Circle of the Moon, Harmony of Dissonance, and Aria of Sorrow. The real draw, though, would be the games most Western players haven't played before: MSX2 Vampire Killer, X68000 Castlevania (in both original and Castlevania Chronicles forms), and the phenomenally terrible Haunted Castle arcade game. As for extras… do you think Konami still has material from that cancelled Dreamcast Castlevania anywhere?
Likelihood: This is Konami we're talking about. There's no way they're going sell you a Castlevania set when they can still charge you a premium for a solo Symphony of the Night re-release.
So how about you folks? What classic collections would you want to see, and what would you like to see on it? Post your wildest retro dreams on the forums, and I'll see you all again next week!
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