I'm long on the record of being a fan of the Aero the Acro-Bat series from the Super NES era (so much so that, as you'll recall, I tracked down the original design documents for the first game in the franchise), but I never managed to pick up a copy of the Game Boy Advance version of Aero's debut adventure. While wandering around the dealer area at Megacon last weekend, I browsed the display case at one of the game vendors and found the game pak in great condition for a mere $6.95, so naturally I had to have it. It's a mixed bag of ports; the music took a hit from the original Super NES version (as did most 16-bit ports to the GBA thanks to the handheld's comparatively lesser quality sound capabilities), but there are a few new additions to the game that help to clearly define the storyline and the goal of each level. It joins my collection and hopefully I can give it the level of play that it deserves. According to the save data already on the cartridge, the previous owner never even completed the third level! Yes, I can definitely do better than that.
I went to my first Megacon last weekend. My girlfriend and one of her friends went in together on a vendor table to sell their jewelry, masks, and hair decorations, so I was there to help out behind the scenes. Apparently you can't go to Megacon without wearing an appropriate outfit, so we chose a couples costume worthy of our gaming backgrounds. On Saturday we became Wario and Captain Syrup from Nintendo's famed Wario Land series, and in my travels around the convention I experienced what it was like to be recognized (and not recognized) as one of gaming's most famous anti-heroes.
Mega Man music remixes are not hard to find (even if it seems like more than half of them are someone twanging away at Air Man's theme or metal raging at Dr. Wily's Mega Man 2 fortress theme), but I like to point out when I come across something special. Today's selection comes to us from the original Mega Man for the Nintendo Entertainment System and is a soulful, almost forlorn take on the first theme of Dr. Wily's stages. "Breach" by Brandon Strader is available as part of the tribute album For Everlasting Peace: 25 Years of Mega Man from OverClocked ReMix, and it's rare to hear a Mega Man remix with such spirit and energy behind it while still enhancing the original source material. There's genuine talent here that evokes the uphill battle of Mega Man's original campaign against Dr. Wily and the Robot Masters. Fight on, blue bomber! For everlasting... oh, you know the rest.
(image via The Mega Man Network)
In the old days of E3 in the mid-2000s, video game publishers were more generous with their promotional handouts than they have been in recent years. It wasn't uncommon to find people lugging sacks of collected goodies around with them as they trudged between North and West Halls at the Los Angeles Convention Center. 2004 was my first year in the video game reviewing biz, and at the time I was working for GameCube Advanced, a little outlet that would later go in to become Kombo. Being new to the GCA group in 2004, I worked the so-called homebound team covering E3 that year, writing up previews and opinion pieces based on the material that our on-site team in Los Angeles would send back after a long day on the show floor (remember, this was before the convenience of iPhones and ubiquitous Wi-Fi). It was a long week of late hours, so as a thank you gesture, the on-site team sent all of us at home a box of E3 hand-outs. The best and most interesting thing I received in that box was this Nintendo DS t-shirt that was handed out as part of the handheld's premiere. What's especially interesting about it is that the DS design on the shirt is not the final design that would ship to stores later that year, but is the iteration of the handheld that Nintendo was showing at E3. Take a trip back on memory lane to IGN's archives if you'd like to see more of the original DS design. I'm just here to show you the shirt.
One of the great things about the Nintendo Switch is the many ways it's possible to play it: on the television in its dock, as a Game Boy Advance-style handheld, propped up on its kickstand, etc. Over at Kotaku, Patricia Hernandez is talking about how she's barely taken her Switch out of its dock and has been playing it exclusively as a traditional home console, and this kind of article pretty much invites the community to respond with all of the neat ways its played with the Switch. Here's Patricia:
The big concept behind the Nintendo Switch is that it can be enjoyed both on the TV, and in handheld mode. Instead, the Switch largely operates like any other console system in my household, and I like it that way.
Oh, I’ve tried to take the Switch with me. I’ve braved the dangers of on-the-road scratches, I’ve propped the console up on its tiny stand, Joy-Con in each hand. The idea of taking Zelda anywhere with me is nice, but I don’t like the actual experience of playing the Switch on-the-go.
The general consensus is that players are either playing the Switch docked to the television or carrying it around as a traditional handheld out into the world, but there's a variation missing from her assumptions, and it's the one that I've favored in my two months with the Switch. To my surprise, I've played a decent 80% of my Switch time as a handheld in my house. I started out playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild purely on my television in full HD glory with a vow that I would only handle fetch quest busy work errands in handheld mode. I wanted to experience the major moments of the game on the big screen. The little stuff like gathering monster parts and scouting shrines could happen while I was laying in bed in the evenings, typically with a classic episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 playing in the background.
This article was originally published at Kombo.com on October 13, 2004.
Capcom's futuristic take on the blue bomber has resulted in some of gaming's most memorable side-scrolling platformer games, but in recent years Mega Man X has begun to slip somewhat. His more recent adventures have been half-hearted misfires, containing more frustrating moments than actual fun. Poor localization/translation has also dogged the series in addition to some rather dismal voice acting. The Mega Man X storyline has also been circling the drain for some time, as one game in the series contradicts another (the end of Mega Man X6 proclaims that X's Maverick Hunter partner Zero has gone into a deep sleep for one hundred years so that he can star in the spin-off series Mega Man Zero, and yet Zero appears alive and well in Mega Man X7 and X8) and, on occasion, one game will contradict itself. When Capcom announced that an RPG starring X and friends was in development many fans shuddered at the thought of the company that seemingly couldn't tell a consistent story in an action game taking a stab at a plot-intensive RPG. It would seem those fears are misplaced, as X's first RPG — Mega Man X: Command Mission for the Nintendo GameCube and Sony PlayStation 2 — actually tells a coherent story and features voice acting from actors who can actually, well, act. Add in a deeply customizable battle system and plenty of playable characters and it would appear that if this is Capcom's attempt at bringing some cohesion to the Mega Man X saga, than they look to be successful.
Nintendo and Hudson briefly took greedy anti-hero Wario in a surprising direction in 1994 when they dropped him into Bomberman's world in the Game Boy title Wario Blast. For a hot second there I had hoped that this collaboration would be the beginning of a fun new career for Wario: professional party crasher. I wanted him to drop into other game properties where he may not exactly be welcome and cause all kinds of trouble. Imagine the possibilities! Mega Man discovers that Wario has sold the Robot Masters for scrap. Teenager Dave turns to his friends Bernard and Wario to save Sandy from Dr. Fred in Maniac Mansion. Dracula gets more than he bargained for when Wario raids Castlevania.
Above all else, I truly believe that the world is a poorer place because we were never given the natural team-up adventure with Wario and Scrooge McDuck of Ducktales scouring the world in search of treasure. Working as reluctant partners in search of gold, they could work together until the time was right to try and screw the other over. The co-op gameplay opportunities practically program themselves! I know you're nodding your head in agreement right now as you read this. It's the crossover you never know you needed in your life. Nintendo, Disney, and Capcom, please start making calls. This needs to happen!
It's been a few weeks since we checked in with my progress in Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, so it's time to dip back into the action as I explore Death Mountain with the help of a stupid Goron guide, attempt to ride an electric dragon, and stumble through a ninja hideout where the locals love their bananas. Join Blake Grundman and I for an hour of discussion. Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.
Capcom's Street Fighter II has been ported to all kinds of game consoles and computers. You can find it on the Super NES and Sega Genesis, of course, where it premiered as one of the best selling arcade ports of the 1990s, but it's also available on the Game Boy, Commodore 64, Amiga, Master System, Saturn, TurboGrafx-16, Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, New 3DS, PlayStation Portable... my point is that it's widely available on just about every platform out there. You most likely own one if not multiple options for playing Street Fighter II in one form or another. Now Capcom is about to release it yet again, this time for the Nintendo Switch as Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers at a MSRP of $39.99. That feels very steep for a game that has been around the block this many times, but Capcom has added some new features to the game for its Switch debut. Nintendo UK offers up the complete list, while Javy Gwaltney at Game Informer summarizes the details.
The standout addition is the Way of the Hado, a motion control first-person action game that's goal is to make the player "feel what it’s like to be Ryu." Staple modes like Arcade and Versus will also be included alongside Buddy Mode, a tag team battle mode, and Fight Requests as well as the ability to save replays of your matches.
There's also a digital art book included. While I would like to have Street Fighter II on my Switch, I have to admit that I'm on the fence about it over the cost, but as I think about that, I wonder if I'm not actually the target market for this version of the game. I first played Street Fighter II on a neighbor friend's Super NES back in 1992 and have kept up with the latest updates to it over the years. I bought it on PS2 as part of an anniversary compilation, I own it on PS3 as the HD Remix upgrade, and I carry it in my pocket on my iPhone as a decently playable app. I also own Street Fighter III on PS3 and Street Fighter IV on PS3, PS4, 3DS, and iOS. I even have the underwhelming Street Fighter V on my PS4. Clearly my Street Fighter needs are met.
I was doing very well in Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild until the time came to infiltrate the Yiga Clan's mountain hideout. In my travels across Hyrule I had run into members of the Yiga Clan a few times out on the trails. They are the game's ninjas; secretive folks trained in sword combat who have turned against goodness and light with a pledge to serve Calamity Ganon which means that they are gunning for Link and are eager to take him down. As part of my quest to find the Divine Beast of the desert, I had to recover the stolen Thunder Helm for the leader of the Gerudo tribe, and since the Yiga had stolen it, that meant I had to storm their base. That's when everything went to hell for me and I had to take a three week break from the game because, Hylia help me, I just couldn't do it.