Mach5Mike

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    • Mach5Mike

      Mach5Mike's A Series in Music: The Best of the Soul Series

      4 years ago

       Now that Soul Calibur V has officially been released (assuming you are reading this blog on January 31st, 2012 and if you live in the US), I wanted to celebrate just how far the series has come since 1996 in my own unique way. There are many reasons to love the Soul series: the diverse characters with equally diverse backgrounds and weapon styles, the original take on the 15th and 16th centuries, and of course, the awe-inspiring musical scores. With all of the amazing musical masterpieces in each game, it was a difficult task to narrow down which songs I loved the most. As for how many songs per game will be featured on this list, I decided upon eight as the maximum (with one exception, the opening and/or character select themes won’t count if they don’t allow room for any other songs that I wanted to include). Why eight songs? Well, with the inclusion of Soul Calibur V, there have been eight games in the series so far. (It’s also because I wanted to choose a number that wasn’t a multiple of five, since almost every list does that) Now, with all of the introductions and stipulations out of the way, “Welcome to the Stage of History!”

      Soul Edge (aka Soul Blade)

      The Edge of Soul 

      Out of all of the opening themes for the Soul series, this is definitely my favorite (it unfortunately is not my favorite song in the entire series, but more on that later). The energetic vibe that this song gives off makes me feel like I'm about to step into a brand new world and set off on a new adventure, and nothing will stop me. Fun Fact: did you know that one of the developers of Soul Calibur V actually wanted the game to be named Soul Edge II? If that did happen, I would have wanted to hear this song in the opening sequence!

      Kkaduri 

      This song and the one following it are tied for my favorite stage themes from this game. I enjoy this one for it’s jovial nature, and reminds me of how many of the character’s lives in the series were peaceful until they got involved with either of the two swords.

      Recollect Continent

      The stage that this song plays in is called Unknown Land. Whenever the word “unknown” is used, I also think of the word “adventure”. This song sounds like an invitation to many players entered the world of the Soul series for the first time (I wasn’t one of those people though, I got into the series during Soul Calibur II, and haven’t played the two preceding games yet).

      The Gears of Madness

      I personally do not like Voldo (save for that “certain” pose that can make anyone watching burst into tears of laughter), but I do approve of his stage theme. If we ever get a Soul Calibur VI, I wonder what kind of outlandish designs Namco would concoct for Voldo?
       

       

      Soul Calibur

      Light and Darkness 

      Compared to The Edge of Soul, this song takes a completely different direction and goes for the orchestrated approach. I like that approach, since it aided with the new direction the series was taking with deeper storylines and even more epic battles that would determine the fate of the entire world.

      The Stage of History

       I couldn’t think of any way to describe why I like this song, so I’ll just point out an observation that I made a while ago: ever notice how each character select song since Soul Calibur has the word “history” somewhere in the title? Guess Namco really loves that word, and the same can go for opening themes and the word “destiny”.

      The New Legend

       This song in my opinion symbolizes everything new in this game: a new sword to obtain, new characters seeking to fulfill their destinies, and new areas of the world to explore.

      Sail Over The Storm 

      A very energetic and adventurous song, which is perfect for a character like Maxi. For those of you that have heard his theme song in Soul Calibur V, doesn’t the beginning sound like it was taken from the beginning of this song?

      Wings of Faith

       I know this song is supposed to be a theme for Sophitia, but I could also see it fitting for her son Patroklos. This song has a strong sense of justice to it, and anyone who has heard Patroklos speak knows that he’s all about justice, I mean, it’s even in some of the names of his moves (thank goodness Alpha Patroklos doesn’t use the word “justice” so much, I actually don’t think he says that word at all). I love justice as much as the next guy, but now that word sounds weird to me every time I say it.

      In the Name of the Father 

      I don’t know if I would call this theme fitting for Nightmare, but I like where this theme plays. Ostreinsburg is the destination for many of the characters, since Soul Edge and Soul Calibur tend to be nearby. This song acts to symbolize just how far they’ve come, and that their journeys are coming to an end.

      Going To Where The Wind Blows

       I first heard this song as part of another song in Soul Calibur III, but I’ll get to that later. Anyway, once I found this song by itself, I immediately fell in love with it, though I can’t decide if which version I prefer: the original or the reprise. I still like both equally, so I embedded both versions.

      No Remorse, No Pain

       I was originally going to choose the slower guitar remix from Soul Calibur IV over the original, but I changed my mind. I prefer the more heroic tone that this song gives off, and because it plays during Siegfried and Nightmare’s endings, two of my favorite characters in the series.

      Recollection : A Tribute to Those Who Shed Red

       I’ve loved the credits themes from the Soul games ever since this game, because they always gave me that sense of accomplishment, the one thing that I love about credits themes. This song isn’t my favorite though, but I’ll take care of that later.
       

       

      Soul Calibur II

      Under The Star of Destiny

      Soul Calibur II was the first game I played in the series, and after I watched the opening sequence, I was (and continue to be) hooked, with a large part of that thanks to this song.

      History Unfolds

       Some may say that one of the greatest character select songs would have to be from Street Fighter II. I can agree with that, but I also believe that this song deserves to be with the best of the best.

      Raise Thy Sword

       I often play on the Ostreinsburg Chapel stage just so I can hear this song while I’m playing, since it’s a perfect theme song for my second main Nightmare as I instill fear into my opponents with my unstoppable attacks.

      Guided By Wind

      I came to love this song after multiple play sessions with my sister, who mains Talim and often chooses her stage. I wouldn’t mind playing her if she stopped using her Soul Calibur weapon that would give the player back health just by pressing buttons.

      Destiny Awaits No One 

      If I don’t feel like playing on the Ostreinsburg stage, I will often switch to the Imperial Capitol Ayutthaya stage instead. While the scenery is stunning, the background music is just as beautiful.

      Unwavering Resolve

       Even though this song seems to fit Cassandra, I prefer to hear it whenever I play as Sophitia. I may not enjoy this song as much when compared to something like Wings of Faith, but that’s no disrespect to how empowering this song feels while playing.

      Confrontation

       When I first started playing Soul Calibur II, I was also new fighting games as a whole, and knew nothing about how to pull off moves effectively. I started Weapon Master just to try it out, and realized that the first level was a basic tutorial. As I got better, I pointed out how I love the training mode feel that came from this song. Now, enjoy playing on this stage whenever I am practicing a new character or combos with any of my mains (If this song becomes DLC for Soul Calibur V, I’ll buy it just for training sessions!).

      If There Were Any Other Way 

      Hearing this song during destined battles made any match twice as awesome. Too bad there was no way of playing it during versus mode. Essentially, this song is a remix from the second half of Wings of Faith, with an awesome rock guitar added to increase the intensity of this song. If this song becomes DLC for Soul Calibur V, it will be one of the first songs I purchase!

      Healing Winds

      I listen to this song the most when I’m viewing the weapon gallery. (why was this extra scrapped in the later games? I loved it. At least Battle Theater is back!) As I gazed at my growing collection of weapons, I like how this song gave me a sense of achievement as I gazed upon some of the weapons that took me hours to obtain.

      The Legend of Zelda 

      What’s better than Link as a guest character for Soul Calibur II? Well, actually the answer to that is nothing, but what’s almost as good is this arrangement of the main theme from the Zelda series, probably the most recognizable theme in video game history next to the Super Mario Bros. theme. I was crazy excited when I got to take on Soul Edge as the Hylian Hero, and I geeked out when I fought his destined battle against Raphael, and then this song kicks in as the battle starts. If another Soul Calibur game is released on a Nintendo console, I would beg Namco to include Link as a guest character again and give us another awesome remix.

       

      Soul Calibur III

      Hour of Destiny

       I did state that Edge of Soul was my favorite opening song, but my favorite opening sequence in the series is from Soul Calibur III. I believe this song narrates how many of the characters from all over the world have realized that the two swords are still out there somewhere, waiting for someone else to wield them.

      History Beckons 

       This song sounds very similar to History Unfolds from Soul Calibur II, but adds a little more to the song towards the end. Out of all of the actual character select screens, I liked Soul Calibur III's the most; each mode had a different take on a sky background, which made just looking at some of the character's faces as wind strangely blew from somewhere that much more aestheticallly pleaseing

      Radiant Souls

      I haven’t played that much of Soul Calibur III, but out of my short playtime, I’ve heard this song the most, as I spent hours in the character creation mode. I felt as if this song inspired me to let my imagination run free, and create something amazing. I also found it kind of entertaining to zoom in on the character’s faces and rotate the camera just to watch their eyes follow the camera.

      Fearless Eyes

       I can’t really explain why, but this song reminds me so much of Wings of Faith. I guess it’s like a spiritual successor type of song. Anyways, it’s a great song, especially with the calm parts in the beginning and middle, which make this song fitting for a character like Sophitia.

      Time Marches On

      While I can play against almost any character without having too much of a problem, Zasalamel in Soul Calibur III was the one exception. But that has nothing to do with why I love this song. The gradual build-up In this song gives it a more dramatic feel as the rounds progress, and then becomes epic as the match would come to a close.

      Courage Ablaze

       I love how this song starts off somewhat mellow, and gradually intensifies similar to how a flame grows in strength, to the point where it is powerful and unstoppable!

      Forsaken Sanctuary 

      The Lost Cathedral stage has got to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing stages in the entire Soul series, and this epic musical score to accompany the dramatic battles that take place add to this stage’s wonders.

      Tales of Souls

       As I read most of the prologues for each character in this mode, the accompanying music helped me understand just how much each character has been through, but despite all that has happened, their journey for the two sword has remained incomplete, and many cannot stop until they finish this quest.

      Eternal Wayfarer

      While Tales of Souls sounded somewhat somber, this song is more uplifting, and really brought out the more adventurous part of me.

      The Oath

      I enjoyed this song the most when it is played during Siegfried’s ending, since it expresses the regret that he lives with each day as he seeks redemption, and as the song ends, it would appear that he finds his answer with the words, “It doesn’t matter, I will live on. To live, that is my redemption.”

       

      Soul Calibur Legends

      Defeat All In Front

       Each game in the Soul series seemed to have at least one song that had an adventurous tone, and I think this is the example from Soul Calibur Legends.

      Castle Warfare

       While this song sounds amazing when I watch playthroughs of this game as the players would storm through castle sieges, I just wish this song could have been used in Soul Calibur III or IV somewhere so I could use it in versus battles because I like it so much.

      Fatalize 

      While I haven’t played Tales of Symphonia, (There are a lot of good games I haven’t played yet, okay? I know I’m missing out!) I really enjoyed listening to this orchestrated revision. On my list of favorite guest character themes in the Soul series, this song won’t top “The Legend of Zelda”, but it does beat the Soul Calibur V rendition of “Venice Rooftop” (aka Ezio’s theme, sorry Assassin’s Creed fans)

       

      Soul Calibur IV

      Uncovered History

       It’s another character select theme, what else can I say about this song that I haven’t said about similar songs already? The only thing I can think of is that this song is the last to sound familiar to the character select themes of Soul Calibur II and III.

      Phantasmgoria

       Only in the Soul series can you fight on a seesaw-like platform in the middle of a circus surrounded by fire everywhere in the background! This song captures the both essence of an epic battle and a dynamic circus, and flawlessly combines them together to create another amazing stage theme.

      Valiant Heart

      In my recent play sessions of SC IV, I’ve been learning how to use Hilde (and not be cheap), and I decided to practice her moves on her stage (Wolfkrone Monument). Since I was practicing for hours on end, the background music began to grow on me, and because of that, Wolfkrone Monument is now my stage of choice when playing online.

      Twilight Dwellers

      A slightly slower rendition of “Wings of Despair” from Soul Calibur III, and I love it way more than the original. It’s a much more dynamic version in my opinion, and fits the more “final decisive battle” tone that is prominent in Soul Calibur IV.

       Gigantesque

      When Soul Calibur IV was first released and I was able to listen to the soundtrack, this was the first song that I enjoyed. Out of all of the stages in SC IV, I tend to play on the stage where this song plays (Tower of Remembrance: Ancient Gate), and also because causing ring outs in stages with lava in these games never gets old (wait, that sounded sadistic, oh well) :D

      Breakthrough

       In the story mode, this theme plays when some of the more pivotal characters are facing their rivals, who are the only thing standing between them and the two swords. The pre-battle quotes for each character tend to be more emotional than their normal quotes, and this song seems to emphasize with those emotions. Or, in the words of the narrator, "Obsession, Determination, Hope. The firey emotions illuminate the two swords."

      Searching For The Truth

       While the story mode for each character in Soul Calibur IV seemed short in comparison to Tales of Souls, I still enjoyed it. I felt that this song would be more fitting for the characters who have had a more disastrous history in this series (more specifically, Siegfried and Sophitia). As I read the prologues for some of these characters, the music really helped me realize just how tragic some of these characters’ lives have been, but somehow find the strength to continue their quests for the two swords.

      Thanantos 

      I have been playing Soul Calibur IV for about a month now (I got a PS3 for Christmas last year, give me a break), and I still haven’t completed the Tower of Lost Souls mode. Because of that, I don’t know how epic this song makes the final battle against Algol. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the awesomeness that comes from this song. With all of the orchestrations in the Soul series, including a guitar in at least one song makes for some nice diversity.

      Entwined Destiny 

      In terms of museum themes, this song is tied with “Healing Winds” as my favorite. This song made reading all of the character profiles and how each is connected to other characters or the two swords that much more enjoyable.

      The Valiant Order

      The main reason on why I love this song is because of the ending that this song plays. Out of all of the endings that Siegfried was featured in, he either died or lost a fight, which made me somewhat somber as a Siegfried fan. Unfortunately, thanks to Hilde’s ending, I no longer feel that way. I love how the song starts out as if Siegfried was going to get killed once again, but then ends with feelings of redemption and forgiveness (it’s nice that the two became friends and allies after Soul Calibur IV).

       

      Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny

      Afterglow ~ A Silent Prayer 

      While the most of the new songs in Broken Destiny are rearrangements from Soul Calibur IV, I liked a few of them just a bit more than the originals. I somehow never got around to listening to the original version of this song (Immaculate Pledge), but thanks to this rendition, I quickly corrected that mistake.

      Destiny Will Tell 

      While the original version of this song was epic, I personally preferred this slower, yet dramatic rendition just a bit more. This song seems to symbolize everything about Broken Destiny: while the decisive battle may have concluded, there are still warriors out there fighting to become legends.

       Innocent Vision

       The way I hear this song, it sounds more like a reorchestration of Ephemeral Dream, if not the exact same song with just a few more instruments added. If that’s the case, then those additional instruments made this song much more enjoyable than the original or the remix from Soul Calibur IV!

       Midnight Mystique

       With all of the rehashed stages from Soul Calibur IV, I greatly appreciated a new stage, with awesome background music to accompany the nice Italian scenery. I don’t think there has ever been an Italian-like stage in the series up to this point, and hearing songs that use different styles of music in each game is just plain amazing.

      Who's Stepped on Her Tail

      With all of the serious and epic songs throughout the Soul series, this light-hearted and comical tune made all of the numerous humor scenes in The Gauntlet that much funnier (especially any scenes that involved either Nightmare or Dampierre).

       

      Soul Calibur V

      Well, this was a surprise. A few YouTube users uploaded some of the themes for Soul Calibur V, and out of the ones that I found (includes short previews), here are my current favorites:

      The Frontier of History

       While this character select song may not sound anything like Soul Calibur IV’s, it’s nice to hear something new, and thankfully, this is a good kind of new.

      Till Fate Writes My Epitaph

       While Siegfried may not play as pivotal of a role in this game than he used to, his theme song reminds you of how awesome he still is even if he doesn’t wield Soul Calibur any more.

      Sword of Resolution 

      A heroic theme fitting for the new main character Patroklos. I also like how Alpha Patroklos’ theme is a more valiant (for lack of a better term) version of his original theme, and you feel as if he has finally discovered who he truly is instead of who he thought he should be.

      Without The Blessing of Fate

       According to Ivy’s profile in Soul Calibur V, she’s out to destroy the place known as Astral Chaos, where Soul Edge took refuge for the past 17 years. This theme seems to symbolize her determination, and her refusal to let anything stop her from what she deems to be justice.

       

      So, if you've been keeping track of all of the songs I've listed, you may (or may not) have noticed that one particular song is missing. I may not have been able to list any of these songs in order of preference, save for my absolute number one favorite song, Path of Destiny.

      I fell in love with the song the first time I heard it, which was after finishing Weapon Master mode in Soul Calibur II, and have enjoyed listening to it in every game ever since. If my favorite credits theme wasn’t from Mario Kart 64, this would have been number one. I decided to include all three versions of the song because I enjoyed how each version added more to the previous version. From what I’ve seen in early gameplay videos of Soul Calibur V, it appears that this song did not make it into the latest installment, though it is worth noting that this song has made the most appearances out of any other song in the series (SC II, III, IV, and Broken Destiny), which is a testament to this song’s popularity. However, the song that replaces it is almost as amazing, it even brought manly tears to my eyes with the ending scene it accompanies (I’ll post the credits part, not the ending, we don’t want spoilers now, right?):

      Well, if you did read everything in this extremely long list, then first off, thank you very much (especially if you were able to bear each time I used words like “awesome”, “amazing”, and some other third word). I personally enjoy writing longer blogs instead of splitting them up. I plan on making "A Series in Music" a blog series of mine, and would like to know if you would rather have future lists split up, or in one piece such as this one; please leave a comment below, any additional compliments and criticisms are also welcome. For any Soul series fans reading this, hopefully this blog has helped keep your hype for Soul Calibur V as strong as ever, and I hope you are enjoying the game if you have picked it up already. If any g1s have a PS3 and plan on buying this game (which you should if you haven’t already), add me as a friend so we can play sometime (my PSN ID is Mach5Mike), and I will see you all online eventually (I have no idea when I will be able to buy the game, so I will still be playing Soul Calibur IV online) as I take on the Internet with my mediocre Siegfried and Hilde (I may also use Patroklos and/or Pyhrra if I can learn to use them efficiently). Well, that’s about it for now. Later, and remember, "The Legend Will Never Die".

      Mach5Mike

    • Mach5Mike

      Mach5Mike's g1 Tournament Entry

      5 years ago

      Well, I have to write an entry about Sony. What to do, what to do... Well, I've made it this far in the tournament using the personal approach, and why fix something that isn't broken? Before I begin, I believe I should make it clear that I am a Nintendo fanboy, but I have been branching out within the past few years. However, I do not own any Sony consoles (or any other non-Nintendo consoles); I guess that pretty much shatters any chance for me trying to earn a spot on "The Tester" :( I know that was a terrible joke, but I'm trying to include all that I know about Sony (I'm also trying to add some humor here, don't fault me for trying). Basically, what you are about to read are a few of the ramblings that I've had inside my head this past week concerning Sony (which will have a lot of comparisons to Nintendo, so forgive me if I sound like I'm going off topic) Because of my horriible time management (and embedding) abilities, I can only provide links to all the images, videoes, and pages. So without further ado, let's begin, shall we?

      A Whole New World (if you didnt get the reference, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVxUUotm1P4)

      One of the first things I would like to say about Sony is that I owe them big time; had it have not been for Sony and the Playstation consoles, I would have never opened my eyes to all of the amazing games developed by companies outside of Nintendo. In my particular case, I'm practically infatuated with platformers. Ever since I played Super Mario 64, I was convinced that only Nintendo knew how to make great games. However, things changed the second my couisin introduced me to some of the greatest PS1/PS2 exclusives ever: Crash Bandicoot, Spyro The Dragon, Sly Cooper, and Jak and Daxter. The second I played the games, I was a changed person. Each game provided platforming experiences that felt similar, but also did a lot of things differently. Whether I was collecting Wumpa fruit, power crystals, gems, Precursor Orbs, Power Cells, or freeing dragons, I saw more of what every good platformer needs. While I used to beat myself up over liking games that weren't made by the Big N, I now look back and see it as me realizing that there were other good games out there. Unfortunately, it took me about thirteen years for me to gain the courage to finally leave my comfort zone, but better late than never I suppose. Once again, thank you Sony, for helping me realize that all I want is to play great games, no matter which company creates them.

      The Amazing DualShock

      Probably one of the biggest positives that I have to say about the Playstation consoles would have to be the symbolic DualShock controller. How many game companies who make consoles can say that they've essentially used the same controller for not just two, but THREE of their consoles? The DualShock has learned some new tricks over the years such as Sixaxis motion controls, but never lost its integrity along the way; kind of like how some (if only I could say "all") celebrities can actually manage their lives and stay out of trouble. In addition, the controllers never felt dated in my opinion, which is a true a testament to the visionaries who designed the DualShock. While the analog sticks made the Hadoken motion feel a little awkward at first, I've come to embrace the difference, and eventually became accustomed to the stick. As I write this paragraph, a thought just came to my mind: can you imagine how much less painful some of the minigames from the original Mario Party could have been if they used the DualShock's analog stick? I guess me and the bruises on my right palm can only imagine...

      The Face of Sony?

      This topic may not be all that significant to some, but for some reason, it is to me. if you were to ask a gamer to name the big three's mascots, they'll say Mario, Master Chief, and then have to take some time to think of Sony's. The problem? There isn't an official mascot. Actually, I have to take that back. Upon using the world's most credible resource in the known universe, Wikipedia (sarcasm), apparently the mascot for Sony of Japan is a small white cat-like creature named Toro, you can read more about him here (for some reason, I can't get the link to work): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toro_(cartoon_character). As "interesting" as Toro is (maybe my opinion will change when I see him fight to the death in Street Fighter X Tekken), I think Sony could do better. It's a shame that characters such as Crash or Spyro made the move to multiplatform, (and made some of the worst business decisions of their careers) as they would have made great official mascots. So, which characters could Sony make ridiculous merchandise for if they haven't done so already? One possible suggestion would be to have two mascots. The hardcore audience can be represented through characters such as Nathan Drake or Kratos, and have a character such as Sackboy represent the more casual/younger audience.

      Doing what Nintendon't (I know the reference is about a different company, but the line was so fitting for this paragraph)

      As much as it pains me to say this, but in many ways, Sony has made decisions about their consoles that I wish Nintendo would have taken. For example, while the Nintendo 64 is my absolute favorite console, I feel that the PS1 stole some of its thunder because Sony took a few steps that Nintendo could and should have, but didn't. The biggest is probably Sony's decision to release games on CDs as opposes to cartridges, which lead to cheaper games, better graphics (not a huge gripe for me since I'm not all that big on graphics), and even allowed gamers to listen to their own CDs (a feature that I wouldn't use, but I know a lot of people who did and loved it). Ever since then, it's as if Nintendo has been playing catch-up, only to be one or two steps behind. There is another example that I'd like to address: the PS Vita. This time, it would appear that Sony is doing what I want Nintendo to do more frequently - learning about what the audience wants and how to meet those desires. I like the effort, but I think Sony went a little overboard with the execution (what am I suppossed to do with a rear touch screen that I can't even see?) I could provide many more examples (like comparing the Wii to the PS3 and the Move, but I think I'd better wrap this up before things get too long.

      Originally when I thought about what I was going to write, I thought I was going to have a lot of hate towards Sony, as they weren't Nintendo (Wait, did I unintentionally end up bashing Nintendo instead?). I guess Sony has helped teach me that everything in this world, even in the gaming industry, is not as black and white as I previously thought. You know, a favorite song of mine emphasizes this point quite nicely in my opinion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2AitTPI5U0&ob=av2n

      Sony, you may not be my all-time favorite gaming company, but you most definitely have my utmost respect. With that, I believe that accounts for all of my Sony rambles. If I made any sense at all, and you liked what you've read, then please vote for this entry (or if you liked GameJudge's entry more, then go ahead and vote for that one instead). Also, please let me know what you liked and/or didn't like. May the better g1 win GameJudge!

    • Mach5Mike

      Mach5Mike's Love Letter to Platformers

      5 years ago

      If I were forced to play only one game for the rest of my life, it would have to be some game under the platformer genre. As for what game that would be, I can’t give you a definite answer right now. I was originally going to go the history lesson route with my entry, then changed my mind when I started thinking about why I love platformers so much, and I have a lot of experience with platformers over any other genre of games that I play, so I figured why not make this one a little more personal? So, what do I love about platformers? Well, get comfortable, since this might take a while:

       

      The Simple and Tight Controls

      Who would have thought that actions such as walking/running and jumping would make for such amazing games? Well, I didn’t until I played one for the first time; I believe it was Super Mario 64. When I play my games, I want the actual game to be the challenge, not figuring out how to play. Another thing that makes a good platformer is the pace of difficulty. While the first few levels you can finish without trying too hard, the difficulty will gradually increase and by the time you're towards the end of the game, you'll have to time and calculate your movements correctly or else you're starting the entire level (or in some games, the entire game if you don't have a password or haven't saved in a while), but luckily, a good platformer also has tight controls. However, it also means you can't blame the game every time you lose a life.

       

      The Unforgettable Characters

      Most of my (and probably a lot of other g1s) favorite video game characters made their debut in a platformer. Many went on to become some of the most beloved game franchises that will ever exist; one of them broke down barriers that paved the way for future heroines in games. One character would make us think how can a platform game be considered such if the character doesn’t jump. However, other characters would have a strong start in their franchise, then try a different direction in certain gameplay mechanics, and end up becoming shells of their former selves. Some would make triumphant return after years of downtime, looking to reclaim their territories in the industry; some would succeed and continue to make great games, yet others just couldn’t pull it together and once again become lost to the memory of time (but they will still remain alive in the hearts of their avid fans). Here’s just a small list of some of my favorite characters that made platforming games fun to play:

      •  Mario & Luigi
      • Donkey Kong
      • Yoshi
      • Samus Aran
      • Kirby
      • Sonic The Hedgehog
      • Crash Bandicoot
      • Spyro The Dragon
      • Mega Man
      • Banjo-Kazooie
      • Rad Spencer (aka the Bionic Commando)
      • Earthworm Jim
      • Jak and Daxter
      • Ratchet and Clank
      • Sly Cooper

      The Memorable Music

      Just like the characters, most of my favorite songs from games came from platformers. I can’t think of any other way to explain why I love these songs than just letting the music do the talking instead.  These songs aren’t my only favorites, just a few of them. I am no pro when it comes to YouTube embeds, and I’m kind of short on time right now, so I unfortunately can only provide links to the videos:

      I would love to say that I love everything about platformers, but unfortunately, there’s just one problem in these games that I have yet to fall in love with. Hopefully a few g1s may have been able to predict what I’m about to talk about, but for those who don’t, I’m referring to:

      WATER LEVELS!

      So, why exactly do I hate water levels in platformers (or in most games)? Well, I’ve given it some thought and narrowed it down to three reasons. The first is that often times, water levels somewhat slow down the pace of the game, which is usually done by forcing you to swim (at a speed noticeably slower than your running speed) throughout most or the entire level. These levels also remove some of your character’s main and most useful ability; often meaning you can’t jump on or over enemies, and must either swim around them or use a modified version of an attack you already have, but it’s not as useful when you’re underwater. And let’s not forget about how annoying underwater boss fights can be when your usual speed and agility advantages over the boss are gone. Probably the most frustrating part about water levels would have to be that you have to constantly be aware of how much time you can spend underwater before losing a life, and it doesn’t help when the game starts telling you that you’re low on air when it plays jingles like this: Drowning Theme (Sonic The Hedgehog 3). I hope I didn’t make it sound like water levels are an abomination in games, I eventually finish the levels, and it's not like they ruin the rest of the game.

       

      Now that I’ve gotten that little bit out of the way, let’s get back to the love shall we? Since I’ve already talked about the different aspects I love about platformers, I’d like to take this time to give shout outs to some of my favorite platforming games. Before I get to that, I feel I must let you in on something: I don’t own every console in existence or have the time or money to play every good game; I’m completely aware that there will be some games missing on here that I did not acknowledge, and it’s because I have not played the game (like any of the Mega Man or games as of right now, shocking/disappointing I know, but I do plan to buy Mega Man 1-3, 9, and X when I have the money for them. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about Metroid or Super Metroid because I do not own them yet either. I do have Metroid Prime, but I’m not a big fan of the first-person platforming, so I'm not going to talk about it), or I do not know the game’s existence. (instead of calling me something like depraved since I don’t know about the game, why not say something like “you should try this game” instead?) Also, in an attempt to save room for other well deserving games and I feel like I would be walking with a crutch that I honestly believe I can do well/better without, I am not going to go into detail about how much I love the Mario games. Just so it doesn’t look like I’m completely abandoning Mario, my favorite 2D game is Super Mario Bros. 3, and my favorite 3D game is Super Mario Galaxy 2. I will use them to provide examples, but not as separate shout outs. Before readers get angry, let me give my rationale. I’m a die hard Mario fan, but honestly, everyone knows how awesome Mario games are, however, everyone should also know that there are other good platformers out there to play besides Mario. With that being said, let’s get to the shout outs:

       

      Banjo-Tooie

      If you’re wondering why Banjo-Kazooie isn’t here, read the third sentence in the paragraph above this one. Moving right along, this game is probably my second favorite platformer on the Nintendo 64 next to, well, hopefully you know what game came in first. What I really loved about this game was the sense of exploration I got out of the game; the best way I am able to describe the gameplay is a mix between Super Mario 64 (the diverse worlds which offered lots of diverse challenges that weren’t just limited to platforming, like first-person shooting J) and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (a huge world to explore with lots of optional side quests for the completionists; I’m still working on finding those last few Jiggies and Jinjos). I never was a big fan of cutscenes in games either until I played this game. I think one of my favorite lines in the game was in the opening cutscene, where Banjo and company all mourns for their friend Bottles’ death, only for Kazooie to break up the moment and the fourth wall while she’s at it by saying “he wasn’t the favorite character in Banjo-Kazooie anyway”. The only bad thing I have to say about this game is that it never got a true sequel. I don’t care who makes Banjo-Threeie (scratch that, I mean anyone except Rare can make the game), as long as it’s done right and looks and plays like a Banjo game, I will be satisfied.

       

      Pac-Man World 2 & Bomberman Hero

      I grouped these two games together is because I love them for the same reason: the franchises that both games come from did not start out as platformers, but instead took certain aspects (in Bomberman’s case, it was dropping bombs to blow up your enemies without blowing yourself up, and in Pac-Man’s case, it was eating Pac Dots and Power Pellets to eat ghosts) from their original games and did a decent job of making them work in a 3D platformer, kind of like how the Mario Kart games took almost everything from the Mario platformer games and made an amazing racing game spinoff series. An extra bonus in Pac-Man World 2 was the incentive to find all of the tokens in each level, as doing so would allow you to play classic Pac-Man arcade games (Pac-Man, Pac-Attack, Pac-Mania, and Mrs. Pac-Man); don’t forget about the new mazes that were unlocked by collecting Galaxians (classic Namco game cameos yay!) found in almost every level that paid homage to the original arcade game too!

       

      Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex

       

      As the first Crash game that I have owned (I have also played the original and Crash 3), I felt this one was the best out of the four. However, the reviewers didn’t think the same way. The game got a lot of bad scores for a lot of reasons other games get low scores: too repetitive, nothing new from the game’s predecessors, all that annoying stuff that I hate reviewers for. I honestly don’t understand why they hated the game so much; to me, the game had all I wanted out of a Crash game: collecting Power Crystals, and then going back to complete death routes to collect all of the Gems to complete the game 101%, spinning like crazy to send anything that comes in your way flying, and of course, accidentally blowing up those “conveniently” placed TNT crates :D.  The game also introduced Crunch Bandicoot, who was one of my favorite characters in the series before he was turned into an anamorphic parody of Mr. T; to make matters worse, a similar fate would fall upon every character in the franchise :(

       

      Sonic The Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles and Sonic Colors

      Yes, I refused to talk about Mario games yet I will talk about Sonic games. In my opinion, Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic Colors gave me the best of what 2D and 3D Sonic games had to offer, and offer they did. With Sonic 3 & Knuckles, you had all of the amazing gameplay elements that made Sonic 2 a joy to play, and added on top of that new abilities, and continued the trend of adding a new character (or characters) to the cast, this time with Knuckles; too bad this was his only game where his unique abilities of floating and climbing added to the gameplay, meaning I hated his treasure hunting sections in the Adventure games. In the case of Sonic Colors, the blazing fast gameplay from the 360/PS3 version of Sonic Unleashed (come on, the Werehog sections weren't that terrible) was toned down significantly, an improvement that would allow for you to actually see where you're going and have time to react to everything you're about to run into. This game also marked the first time in a long time in many Sonic fan's minds where the gimmick of the game doesn't detract from Sonic's gameplay, but rather adds to it (my personal favorite Wisp would probably be the Pink one, I haven't been able to Spin Dash in a 3D Sonic game since Adventure 2!)

       

      Yoshi’s Story

      When I first looked at this game (note that I was around six when this game was released), I looked down upon it for the same reason I love this game today, which was the unique art style that made me feel like each level was the creation of an elementary school art class (that was a compliment despite the way it sounds in writing), and this new direction in art styles fortunately carried over into other Nintendo franchises like Kirby (Epic Yarn) and The Legend of Zelda (Wind Waker and Skyward Sword); hopefully this trend will continue,  these kinds of art styles are one of the reasons why I love Nintendo games!

       

      Well, I think that covers just about everything I wanted to say about platformers. If you loved what you read (hopefully you read all of it) then vote for it, or vote for Water Shocker's entry if you liked it better. Win or lose, I just had a lot of fun writing this entry!

  • About Me

    If you're reading this, then hello there, I'm Mach5Mike (or Mike for short), a fun-loving, energetic, and definitely abnormal person! I've been a daily visitor of ScrewAttack since 2008, though I didn't become g1 until 2010. But I'm here now, and I'm loving every minute of it.

    Just to get some basic information out of the way,

    First Game: Mario Kart 64

    Favorite Games: Super Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, Super Smash Bros. Melee & for Wii U/3DS, Mario Kart 64, DS and 8, Sonic The Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, F-Zero X & GX, Soul Calibur, II & V, Banjo-Tooie, Crash Team Racing, Lego Racers, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 & 2, Bomberman Hero.

    Favorite Consoles: Nintendo 64, Nintendo Wii

    Favorite Genres: Platformers, Fighting, Racing

    Favorite franchises: Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda, F-Zero, Super Smash Bros., Sonic The Hedgehog, Banjo-Kazooie, Lego Games, Soul Calibur.

    Other things I like: Cartoons/Anime (I have too many favorites to list here, but know that Speed Racer is one of them), Power Rangers, Star Wars, Lego, Hot Wheels, F-1 Racing, and so on.

    Well, this section is getting long, so I'll stop here. See you guys around the site!

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