Game Music Face Off!!! Castlevania II vs. Dragon Quest IX

For this week’s music post, I thought I would change things up a bit and put two pieces of music up and let you guys vote which ones you prefer. If this sort of thing becomes popular, then maybe I will do some sort of tournament one day, but don’t get your hopes up.

Today’s selections are Bloody Tears from Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest for the NES and Cursed Places from Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies for the DS. Bloody Tears is a song that appears in most Castlevania games, but its entry in this game was highly memorable, in my opinion.

It’s no secret that I have been playing DQ IX and this song is the first one that really jumped out at me, so much so that I would go into a town just to hear the music play. When I saved the town from the plague that had been ravaging it, the music changed to a bouncier theme and I was pretty upset. Thankfully, I found it online, so let me know what you guys think and vote now! VOTE NOW! VOTE NOW!

Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest – Bloody Tears

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

Which song do you prefer?

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Metroid: Other M Goes to the Movies

Other MNintendo and Team Ninja’s collaborative efforts on Metroid: Other M are coming to fruition at the end of August, and the game is going to be a bit different than what fans of the series are used to. Typically, Metroid games play up the feeling of loneliness and desolation on hostile alien worlds, but this time around Samus is going to be a lot more vocal and she’ll have a few characters backing her up. Because the game is focusing more on character interactions, Other M will feature almost two hours of cut scenes. Since you’ll probably spend most of your time looking for hidden items and blasting creepy bad guys, Team Ninja is doing you a service by giving you the option to watch Other M’s video segments strung together in a sort of “theater mode” once you’ve finished your playthrough.

A very nice gesture on the developer’s part, but I can’t help but feel that they’ve missed what makes Metroid the unique series that it is, outside of the whole being-hit-so-hard-your-items-fall-off gameplay mechanic. Metroid isn’t about long winded cut-scenes or being told hold Samus feels. Part of her mystery is that you don’t know anything about her, her motivations or what goes on inside her head. She’s a bounty hunter and a warrior. Do people want to know more about Samus? I might be alone in this, but I like Metroid when it’s dark and enigmatic, not when it’s beating you over the head with narrative. What about you guys? Are you down for some cinematic action, or are you a bit wary?

Source: Kotaku

Hulu: Plus… or Minus?

Remember me? I know I haven’t posted here in a while, but I thought I’d pop my head in and share my experiences with the newly launched Hulu Plus on the PS3. For those of you outside the US… I think Anthony wrote something humorous about a videogame!

Weaning myself off of an expensive dependence on cable TV has been a dream of mine for a while now, but the sticking point has always been that I absolutely rely on my DVR. As soon as the Hulu Plus service was announced, I knew that I had to check it out, and I decided that paying $20 for three months of PSN Plus was a worthwhile trade off – it’s still cheaper than what I was paying for cable.

My previous experiences with Hulu on my TV have been thanks to a handy adapter cable and my MacBook. It’s not pretty, but it works. It’s just kind of a pain in the ass to set it up each time. Still, I think it’s fair to compare that setup with the PS3 implementation. After the jump, I’ll run down each method’s convenience, show availability, video quality, and interface.

Continue reading Hulu: Plus… or Minus?

Proof That the Dance Command Can Go With Anything

Blizzard sure loves to slip little jokes into their games, and StarCraft 2 is no exception. I’m making my way through the campaign at the moment and I’ve already spotted a few, such as the Night Elf dancing in the cantina and the Metroid cameo. One of Blizzard’s other successful games, World of Warcraft (you may have heard of it) features a fun little command called /dance where you can make your in-game avatar do a few slick moves depending on your species. Looks like the company’s sci-fi RTS isn’t immune either. The marines are jacked up and good to go, and some user captured them doing their routine:

Pretty hilarious, and very in keeping with Blizzard’s sense of humor. Like I mentioned, I’m making my way through the single-player game and I’m finding it solid so far, even if the mission designs are a little vanilla. How about you guys? What’s your StarCraft experience like so far?

Halo: Reach Campaign Trailer Debuts

Your resident Halo fanboy is back, this time with the campaign trailer for Bungie Studio’s upcoming Halo swan song, Halo: Reach. You can debate whether this game is actually the most anticipated title of 2010 (please don’t), but there’s no denying that the excitement for Reach is building to a fevered pitch. With Firefight 2.0, Forge World and a swath of player customization options, it looks like Bungie’s last Halo game will be very fine indeed. Check out the trailer below:

Very nice in my opinion, if a little reminiscent of Modern Warfare 2 in some parts. Like all of Bungie’s trailers, this stuff is all in engine, and damn if it doesn’t look sublime. What do you guys think? Any more excited, or are you like me, veritably bursting at the seams with apprehension?

Red Dead Redemption’s Soundtrack is as Authentic as it is Beautiful

One of the stand-out things in Red Dead Redemption is, for me, the incredible soundtrack. Invoking the classic feel of Western films and composers, Rockstar’s latest opus had an incredibly nuanced creation process involving the use of several antiquated instruments and a unique method of composition. While “Far Away” by Jose Gonzales is the stand-out track in the game, the rest of the score is no less moving or powerful. Rockstar put out a video detailing the process, and it’s an informative watch.

I found that really cool, especially how the composers layered the “strands” on top of one another depending on what the player was doing. I enjoyed the ambient music in Mexico myself. What about you guys?

Machinima: Gears of War 3: What Have I Become

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: TheDuoGroup makes some of my favorite machinima out there. Their new piece, a trailer created for Gears of War 3 titled What Have I Become, might be some of their best work. It was created in collaboration with Dave Tyner of Treadster Media.

Anyway, I don’t watch too much machinima these days, but I’m sure to catch everything these guys put out. Honestly, this got me more pumped for Gears of War 3 than anything else has to date. Give it a watch!

Top Six: Achievement Types I Never Want to See Again

Love them or hate them, Achievements (and Trophies) have become prevalent in our gaming lives, starting with the Xbox 360 and creeping over to the PS3 and the PC. While it has been a few years since the introduction of Gamerscore and e-peens, very few developers seem to grasp the point of Achievements, and there are a few out there in the wild that have caused an undue amount of frustration for many a gamer. We all know the ones, the few that makes us tear our hair out or have us stay up until three in the morning trying to earn something that isn’t real…but is. Here’s a list of six examples that I think should be removed from gaming forever: Continue reading Top Six: Achievement Types I Never Want to See Again

A Wishlist for Elder Scrolls V

Elder Scrolls 4I have recounted my experience with Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion on many articles and comments on this site, as well as our renowned GamerSushi podcast. It was the first game I played on my XBox 360, and I was blown away with my first foray into the realm of HD gaming. Seeing the wide open world, the detail and the nice RPG mechanics was enough to make a nerd like me sweat, and I was in heaven. I did small bits of the main game, but I mostly spent the 30-40 hours of it I played robbing people’s houses. I’m a bit of a klepto at heart, it seems.

Anyway, Oblivion was much loved by many gamers, so naturally, Elder Scrolls V is high on the list for most anticipated sequels. While the last game was great, there are going to be a few things that people are hoping for in the next entry. That’s why GamesRadar has come up with a wishlist for Elder Scrolls V. I have to say, they make a few good points, including a bigger pool of NPC characters and voice actors, a better encumbrance system and a better scaling system for monsters.

That last one I definitely agree with. I’ve never been a huge fan of RPG’s where the monsters level up with you — it sort of defeats the whole purpose of leveling up, yes? Anyway, if you’re an Oblivion nut, I’d highly recommend checking out the article.

What’s on your wishlist for Elder Scrolls V? What do you think of this list? Go!

Source – GamesRadar

StarCraft 2 Finally Launches Today

Today is the day we’ve been waiting for since what feels like forever; the day that Blizzard deigns to grace us with the most hotly anticipated Real-Time-Strategy game in recent memory, StarCraft 2. Well, to be accurate, the first part of the StarCraft 2 trilogy, the Terran-centric Wings of Liberty campaign. I won’t split hairs though, because this is a monumental occasion for gamers of all types. More than any other game I know, StarCraft has a fervent legion of followers; even self-professed “non-gamer” friends of mine have been looking forward to this. Now that the game is finally out, how many of you are playing, and how many of you are waiting patiently for your copy to download? In celebration, check out the beautiful Ghosts of the Past trailer:

So, what’s your first stop: campaign or multiplayer?

GamerSushi Asks: Reviewing Free Games?

Alien SwarmAs you’re all probably aware, most of the GamerSushi staff are in the throes of Alien Swarm addiction. The game is really engaging, and it manages to wedge itself nicely into the niche left in my gaming life by Diablo 2. Valve was even kind enough to give it to us for free, and judging by how their servers got the crap beat out of them on its release day, they’re probably kicking themselves for not charging at least five dollars for the thing.

Even though we all love Alien Swarm, it’s not a perfect game. There are a few issues I’ve had with it, but my mind keeps glossing them over because of the price tag (or lack thereof). So I pose this question to you guys: can you even review free games? Price is definitely something that has affected the perception of past titles (ODST comes to mind), so will something that only costs us hard drive space be given an automatic pass in the grading department?

Something else I’d like you to consider is DLC. I’ve played all of the Mass Effect 2 content packs, and, when stacked against ME2 proper, they come up very poorly. Even Overlord, the most recent and best of the DLC, is kind of lack-luster compared to the main game and its selling price. Can DLC be rated on its own merits, or does it have to take the larger picture into account?

GamerSushi Asks: Engrossing Gaming?

ArnoldMy goal this weekend was to play lots of Alan Wake. And until today, I had not achieved it. As I am wont to do, I was distracted by any number of things over the weekend. You know how it goes: wives, martial arts, fantasy books, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, bike rides, saving the world… That kind of stuff tends to get in the way of the most well intentioned gaming.

However, today I finally sat down with Alan Wake and managed to knock out 3 and a half chapters (out of six) in one 4 hour sitting. While I’m not going to rave about the game and say it was the greatest thing anyone has ever played ever, there’s certainly something to be said about how engrossed and entertained I was. The fact that I sat there for 4 hours straight is a pretty big deal.

The more I thought about it, I’ve actually done that a handful of times in the last year, thanks to other great single player stories like Mass Effect 2, Uncharted 2, Heavy Rain and of course Red Dead Redemption. It made me curious to ask you guys what some of the most engrossing single player games you’ve played in recent memory? What really captured your attention and kept you glued to your seat? Go!

Great Moments In Video Game Music: The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past – Hyrule Overworld Theme

It occurred to me that I had not yet posted any songs from the Legend of Zelda series on here yet, an oversight I am about to correct. A Link to the Past was and is my favorite Zelda game. I’ve played it dozens of times and I know where everything in that game is at this point, but no matter how often I play, this stirring theme always gets my juices flowing. Just hearing it now tempts me to rush to my Wii and download it via Virtual Console. Do you feel the same?


Chrono Cross Game Blog Part I: Clubbing Komodo Dragons

Okay, time to get serious about this. Chrono Cross, the sequel to Chrono Trigger, released on the PS1 ten years ago, which is exactly how long it has been since I played it. My impressions back then were that it was a great RPG, but a poor sequel to Chrono Trigger, one of the greatest games of all time. Let’s see how I feel about it a decade later.

First off, in the olden days, the X button was cancel and the O button was confirm. Just starting a new game is a trial of my patience, one I seem to be losing by the amount of spittle I am forced to wipe from the TV screen by the time I actually get things going. Oh, thank God, there is an option to change the configuration. I thought I was going to have to kill myself. Also, no using the analog stick here, which is another source of frustration. You know, they made the past seem so quaint in Back to the Future, but the reality is much more abrasive. Like a cheese grater to my testicles.
Continue reading Chrono Cross Game Blog Part I: Clubbing Komodo Dragons

Bungie Introduces Forge World for Halo: Reach

If you listened to the totally sweet new podcast, then you’ll know that we geeked out for awhile about mods and how awesome the gaming community is at creating cool new content for our most beloved games. While this mostly happens on PC, one of the primary examples of this done well on a console is the variety of custom content produced by Halo 3’s avid Forge community. Even years later, they are still pumping out cool new game types that are totally worth playing.

Which is why Bungie has kicked it up a notch for Halo: Reach with the introduction of Forge World. There’s not really a whole lot I can say about this other than implore you to watch. Because seriously, wow… I am so excited about the possibilities that the team at Bungie is creating for this. The fact that they are even shipping some maps built in Forge World to show what all it can do is sure to inspire.

Who else just got even more excited for Halo: Reach because of this video?

Jose Gonzalez Performs Far Away From Red Dead Redemption

If you’ve played Red Dead Redemption, then you are familiar with the song Far Away by Jose Gonzalez, which plays at one of the most iconic moments from the game. This moment is easily one of the best examples of exactly when to play music and let the game sound fade away. I’m also not afraid to say that it instantly made the list of my favorite gaming moments of this generation.

In this video, Jose Gonzalez performs the song on the roof Rockstar in New York. And it’s just as awesome as that sounds. Give it a watch.

Without giving too many spoilers, who else adores this moment in Red Dead Redemption?

GamerSushi Asks: What Are You Playing?

Alan WakeWell, you’ve listened to us yap about what we’re playing on the podcast, so it’s time for you all to jump in with it, too.

Fortunately for me, we seem to be in a very brief gaming drought, while we wait for the fall releases to start dropping on us. I suppose this begins in September with Halo: Reach, so that gives me a good couple of months to catch up with some of the games on my backlog. These include Alpha Protocol, 3D Dot Game Heroes, Starcraft II (when it comes out), Dragon Age: Awakening, and even more Red Dead Redemption.

However, in the immediate future I will be playing both Alien Swarm and Alan Wake, two games that are polar opposites in terms of budget, scale and style, but both equally as engaging, I’m sure. While I haven’t officially started Alan Wake just yet, I watched my brother play about a quarter of the game a couple of weekends ago and I was mesmerized. In addition, Alien Swarm has commanded the last couple of nights, and I still can’t get over just how fun this free game is.

So what about you guys? What are you playing? Go!

Great Moments In Video Game Music: Actraiser – Blood Pool

Actraiser was a SNES game that was so unique that I am pretty sure there has never been a game like it ever since. The game starts out as a 2D side-scroller, like Castlevania, but after completing a stage, the game turns into a SimCity-like simulation where you try to rebuild a town that has been under attack by demons. The action was epic, the simulation addictive and the music, especially this song from the first Blood Pool stage, was tremendous. Truly a hidden gem.


The GamerSushi Show, Ep 6: Fresh Coat of Free

Alien SwarmIt’s really hard to believe that we’re now on podcast number 6, but we’re back this week with a brand new edition The GamerSushi Show, ready for your ears and scrutiny. You’ll notice a couple of things that are different in this episode, namely the awesome new theme song that Jace Ford wrote for us, which to me is absolutely perfect. Anyone that speaks against it will face the back of my hand. Also, Anthony was sick so he couldn’t make this week, and his absence was definitely felt, but he’ll be back for the next one.

In this episode, we cover a variety of topics as always, which may or may not include the death of 1 vs 100, remakes of old games and Alien Swarm. Apparently when we recorded this, the phrases “fresh coat of paint” and “free” became our favorite words ever, because we say them no less than a million times each during the course of it. Seriously, if you are of drinking age, you should play a drinking game that revolves around each time we say either of those things. You will get plastered.

Anyway, as we requested last time, you should definitely go rate the podcast on iTunes if you haven’t done so already. Enjoy!
Continue reading The GamerSushi Show, Ep 6: Fresh Coat of Free

What Issues Should Gamers Drop?

Halo: ReachWe gamers can tend to be a finicky bunch. We are armed with intelligence, a bit of free time, and a huge passion over a hobby/lifestyle that we feel terribly protective of. Naturally this is going to lead to a few scraps here and there, things that gamers don’t always see eye to eye on, whether that is with other gamers or the industry at large.

But how many of the battles we fight are really worth arguing about because they are legitimate issues, and which ones do we actually need to drop? Last week, Koku Gamer posted a slightly tongue-in-cheek yet interesting article bemoaning 5 things gamers need to get over. In my mind, it’s actually spot on, and I’m saying that as somebody who has griped about one or two of the things present.

Hit the jump to see the list! Continue reading What Issues Should Gamers Drop?