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December 2010

The Remastering Of Samus

Super Metroid: RemasteredYou need more Super Metroid music in your day and there's no better way to meet your daily recommend quota of songs based on Nintendo's beloved 1994 Super NES title than by downloading the free arrangement album Super Metroid: Remastered from Tenchux Productions.  Twenty-two tracks of timeless Zebesian goodness await in tunes such as "Theme of Super Metroid", "Theme of Samus Aran", "Norfair (Hot Lava Area)", "Big Boss Confrontation (Ridley - Draygon) + Escape", and the chilling "Mother Brain Confrontation".  Here's a sample via YouTube of the aforementioned Ridley/Draygon confrontation track and a few comments from the creator behind it all.

As such due to it's repetitive and highly energetic nature I decided to go a little crazy on the synths during a few parts of the song. I think it really fits the whole "Ridley" feel though, so I didn't think twice about if I should or shouldn't do it, even this this album is highly atmospheric and ambient. I'm very pleased with how the song came out.

I don't usually come back to the Super Metroid soundtrack, but this take on it is entertainingly well done and is a joy to hear.  While you can't beat the price, the creator is asking for donations to the annual Child's Play charity if you want to kick a little monetary thanks to someone in return for the audio goodness.

Gritty Super Mario Interpretation Will Surprise You

Rebooting Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. as a dark and gritty Grand Theft Auto type of adventure is an old, tired joke by now, but sometimes we find a team that can create their take on the idea and make it worthwhile.  Such is the case with The Brothers Mario, a trailer for an intriguing nonexistent movie.  Check out Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser, Toad, and other familiar characters recast into a world teeming with explosions, guns, theft, and betrayal.  Some of the references are slightly hidden such as familiar musical cues and obscure dialog.  Others are hilariously obvious.  Either way, considering it as a parody spin on a beloved property, I think you'll enjoy this.  I know I did. 

Power Button - Episode 32: Epic Mickey's Camera Woes Meet Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood's Highs And Lows

Power ButtonWhat's one of the most important elements in a 3D action platformer title?  The camera, of course.  That's why it's so important that we weigh in on the big Epic Mickey controversy on this week's episode of Power Button in which we discuss the broken camera in Mickey Mouse's big Nintendo Wii adventure and delve into developer Warren Spector's defense of it.  Then we open up the listener mailbag and fulfill an audience request by going further into detail regarding Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360.  Brad Hilderbrand, Joey Davidson, and I discuss the new Assassin's Order system, the storyline, the full synchronization requirement, the controversial ending, and more.  Also, for some reason we ended up on a Ren & Stimpy kick early on that turned into a running gag for the rest of the one-hour show. Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, or subscribe via iTunes, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach all three of us via  and you can even follow all of us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons,@aubradley84, and @JoeyDavidson or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.

Power Button - Episode 32: Epic Mickey's Camera Woes Meet Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood's Highs And Lows

Massive Gaming Sale At Today

Buy somethin' will ya!If you've been procrastinating when it comes to your holiday shopping, then today is the day to get moving because is offering one of their one-day-only sales on a bunch of different video games.  Games go on and off sale all day, so be ready to score deals like Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood for a mere $38 as well as discounts on Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition, the complete edition of Grand Theft Auto IV (which also includes the DLC), the Michael Jackson music game, Splatterhouse, a family-oriented Pac-Man title, and some wrestling and MMA games.  It looks like there's something for everyone.  A portion of each purchase made through the green links above goes to help support Press The Buttons (which makes a nice gift for me).  For other present ideas, don't forget to check out my video gaming gift guide, too.

In Which I Top The Billy Joel Rock Band 3 Leaderboards

Flawless VictoryI've been waiting years... years!... for a Rock Band title to include an extensive collection of Billy Joel's greatest hits, and today I finally got my wish as twelve of the piano man's songs have been added to the game as a downloadable track pack.  Now, when I first started playing Rock Band 3 on my Sony PlayStation 3, I jumped to near the top of the leaderboards for some of my favorite music.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to take any photos to prove my achievements back then, so when I dug into the Billy Joel tunes this evening, I was sure to take photos of my score for each song (pardon the rapid-fire iPhone camera quality, please).  I was in early on the DLC action so I'm sure these records have been toppled by now, but for a brief while today I was #1 on the leaderboard for every single Billy Joel song in Rock Band 3.  So, now, I have to be a big shot.  It's bragging time.  Behold, the proof!

Continue reading "In Which I Top The Billy Joel Rock Band 3 Leaderboards" »

Hold The Power Of Star Fox 2 In The Palm Of Your Hand

Star Fox 2Sometimes an anticipated game is canceled at the last minute and then leaked to the Internet years later or not localized for your particular region, so in order to play these otherwise lost and denied classics, many people turn to emulating classics consoles on modern PCs.  That's all well and good if you don't mind jumping through a few technical hoops, but if you want to play these games on the original hardware they were meant for... destined for, even!... then you must jump through even more complex technical hoops.  It can be done though.  With the proper tools, it's possible to give a crappy game a ROMectomy and convert those copies of, say, Doom and Madden '92 for the Super NES that are gathering dust into a single actual real functional working Star Fox 2 game pak.  Lucas DeWoody explains the wizardry required over at Games Are Evil.

Of course, you can go the extra mile for the sake of authenticity. Modding a Doom cart to actually play Star Fox 2 is nice and all, but don’t you want it to look authentic alongside your other carts? The plastic of the Doom cartridge is red. If you want it to look authentic to a first party Nintendo cartridge of the era, what you can do is to modify the board inside the plastic cart, then pull that board out and stick it into another random SNES shell, such as one of the endless unused Madden ’92, ’93, ’94, ’95, ’96, or ’97 cartridges floating around (or just spray paint it, but that looks tacky). Now you’ve got to find a template and print yourself a mock sticker for the cartridge. You’re almost done. Lastly, print some box art available over at TheCoverProject and then get yourself a Universal Game Case to put it in. Congratulations! You just brought an unreleased game out of the digital realm and into the physical world.

It's also possible to buy pre-converted game paks for outrageous prices from the shadier corners of the Internet, but like every do-it-yourself project, I'd imagine it's much more satisfying to actually make these custom unreleased/unavailable games yourself.  While there's always the fun aspect of playing the games, there's also the neverending joy of being able to freak people out by casually placing Star Fox 2, F-Zero 2, or other games that should not exist with your traditional copies of Super Mario World and EarthBound.  I hear that while some people are delighted to see a lost game on the shelf, others simply go mad at the notion. 

Game Boy Smash Bros. Demands Your Attention

Super Smash LandNintendo's three Super Smash Bros. fighting games spanning the Nintendo 64, GameCube, and Wii are timeless masterpieces, but haven't you ever wished that you could cram a little Mario versus Kirby action into your pocket and take it on the go with you?  Enter this Game Boy version of the formula entitled Super Smash Land produced by Dan Fornace that must be seen to be believed.  The semi-complex Smash control scheme has been whittled down to just two buttons: jump and attack.  There's no way to block, no way to dodge, and no way to grab an opponent.  Piki Geek has the details and a video clip of a sample skirmish in action set against Kirby's Whispy Woods:

The most interesting dynamic is, without a doubt, the lack of any sort of shielding. Not only does this leave you constantly vulnerable to attack, but disables the “rock-paper-scissors” formula Smash is famous for. Conversely, it adds an interesting element of strategy and planning. Now, positioning before and after attacks is absolutely critical, making punishing for not only startup and ending animations but bad attack placement the true key to victory. While we’ve only played as the two available characters – Mario and Kirby – they both feel incredibly balanced, and we haven’t uncovered any truly broken tactics yet (though we’ve certainly tried).

There's a free demo for PC due to be released this Friday if you're dying to get your hands on this demake.  I hope that we see more of this project as time goes by.  There's a lot of fun potential here in not only remaking the existing Smash elements, but also down-tweaking them for the lesser target hardware.

(via Reddit)

Roger Smith Takes The Donkey Kong Test

Rogersmithmoonshine Let this lesson from last night's "For Whom The Sleigh Bell Tolls" episode of American Dad be with you always: if you want high-quality moonshine brewed by a mountain man, you'll have to take the Donkey Kong test.  Resident alien Roger Smith learns this firsthand when seeks out the strongest alcohol that he can find, as decades of drinking have caused him to build up a tolerance to the regular stuff.  Advice from a liquor store owner leads him to a mountaintop shanty belonging to a legendary moonshiner.  It is there that Roger strikes a deal to learn the secret of making the strongest whiskey in the hills, and it involves jumping over barrels and kissing the princess/raccoon in this clip via Hulu:

GoldenEye 007 Review At Games Are Evil

GoldenEye 007From time to time I'll be working with the team over at Games Are Evil (you might remember some of them from the epic crossover episode we did on Power Button) on video game reviews and related content, and my first effort in that department has been published.  It's a review of the latest first-person shooter from Activision and Eurocom for the Nintendo Wii: GoldenEye 007.  There's not much that I can tell you about the basic GoldenEye game that you probably don't already know thanks to its long and favored history from the Nintendo 64 days, so instead I decided to give you a little taste of some of the changes in this reworking of the original title.  Here's a piece:

Let’s talk structural changes for a moment.  The original GoldenEye title opened with a sweeping pan across the dam facility, and while this new title does the same (so identically, in fact, that it feels like this new game is reaching back and kissing the old one), after this point the action diverts from the Nintendo 64 era.  This time around Trevelyan accompanies Bond through the dam facility.  The duo hijack the truck that in the old days Bond had to follow behind, and for a brief moment the action becomes an on-rails shooter as 007 rides shotgun.  Eventually the two split up and Bond must work his way through to enter the actual complex.  Along the way alarms will be tripped, helicopters will be photographed, and many of Ourumov’s goons will be riddled with bullets.  Bond will take his share of heat as well, come to think of it, but at least this time around his health regenerates (if this is displeasing, rest easy knowing that there is a “classic” difficulty setting in which Bond keeps any damage he takes as in the old days). 

And yes, I make a point of showing that opening dam sequence again.  I believe that showing off that little introductory moment really sells just how this GoldenEye is different than its predecessor.  Hopefully I can spread the word about it and help win others over just as I was similarly convinced. 

Weekly Poll: Dreaming Equally

Poll120610 I expected that Super Mario Bros. 3 would win the most favor when it comes to the Super Mario All-Stars collection, but I'm glad to see Super Mario Bros. 2 place second.  I voted for Mario's Subcon dreamland adventure, and while Mario's third major adventure is the bigger, more detailed game, I tend to like Super Mario 2 better.  I prefer the variety of playable characters, the catchy music, and the faster pace.  I don't even need any power-ups; in fact, I think I may like that there are no enhanced abilities or special suits to discover.  It keeps the playing field level and forces the player to rely more on skill than gimmicks.  I know that the game gets the short end of the stick, but for me it's much more fun to replay. 

Looking ahead, Sony and Naughty Dog officially announced Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception for the PlayStation 3 last week.  Now that we've seen the trailer and heard some of the early details about Drake's new quest, what do you think?  Are you looking forward to Nathan Drake's next adventure?  Have the previous two games in the series been enough for you?  Were you never interested in Uncharted at all?  Let's hear your thoughts.