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Retro City Rampage

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Donkey Kong inspired ride monkeys into Retro City Rampage


Aug 26
// Jonathan Holmes
In the time since the first time I played Retro City Rampage I've co-hosted a show with newcomer Tara Long, created an animated talk show, talked to women about videogames, created Sup, Holmes?, and been the subject of m...
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Retro City Rampage supports FREE PS3/Vita cross-play


Jun 29
// Jim Sterling
Retro City Rampage will support cross-play between the PS3 and PlayStation Vita versions, which is certainly neat. Even neater, however, is the fact that when you buy it on one platform, you'll get it on the other. One paymen...
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E3: Retro City Rampage in my hands! My dreams came true!


Jun 09
// Tony Ponce
The final game I checked out at E3 was the PS Vita port of Retro City Rampage, the title I was most looking forward to playing. With the copious amounts of hands-on previews and the frustration of its seemingly endless develo...
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Meat Boy goes stereoscopic in Retro City Rampage


May 31
// Tony Ponce
Today is May 31... HEY! Wasn't Retro City Rampage supposed to come out this month? Briiiiiiaaaaaan! You've got some 'splainin' to doooooooooooo! In all seriousness, the game is finished and running through a final bug check....
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GOG.com set to release Tomb Raider and Retro City Rampage


May 30
// Alasdair Duncan
A few months ago, GOG.com revealed that they would continue to re-release classic PC games on their service whilst also releasing brand new games through their service. At their Summer conference today, we got to know the nex...
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Here's what Retro City Rampage looks like on the Vita


May 21
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Retro City Rampage's mastermind Brian Provinciano sat down with the PlayStation.Blog to show off his baby running on the PlayStation Vita. Brian details some of the Vita features, from the optimized visuals for the handheld ...

Interview: The music of Retro City Rampage

Apr 27 // Jayson Napolitano
Favorite NES soundtrackNaturally, the soundtracks I heard as a kid will rank among my favourites, but there are hundreds of NES soundtracks I have heard only after becoming an adult (thanks to archives of NSF files) that have become favourites for entirely different reasons, not associated with nostalgia. Do I pick based on nostalgia, or do I pick based on the most technically amazing, or do I pick the uber cool obscure game so I look all hardcore...As bland and obvious (to NES aficionados) as this answer is, I would probably have to say that the soundtrack for Mega Man 3 is my favourite NES soundtrack, and had the largest impact on me as both a child, and an adult. When I was 9 years old or so, I found out you could plug headphones into a microphone jack on a ghetto blaster and they would actually record sound (I must have seen this on Mr. Wizard, or 3 2 1 Contact or something). The first thing I thought to do with this newfound knowledge was to turn on Mega Man 3, start up my favourite stages, and hold the headphone\mic up to the TV speaker so I could record the music by itself (turning the TV volume down for fade outs). Before long, I had an entire tape full of music from Mega Man 3, including the Wily stages later in the game, meaning I had to play the game to get to those levels. As I recall, I played this tape so loud in my downstairs bedroom that my parents actually yelled at me from upstairs to turn it down. To my knowledge, this is the first time in my life I had ever "listened to music."As an adult, and especially as a chiptune artist, my appreciation for Mega Man 3 goes well beyond simple nostalgia too. Mega Man 3 is a non-stop barrage of tricks and techniques that fill out the soundtrack and give the entire thing this razor sharp sheen. It’s possibly the most tell written and technically amazing NES soundtrack. Unfortunately, it's a very hard game to remain objective about. For me though, it's the total package.Honourable mentions would have to go to: Rollergames, Super Dodgeball, Zelda 2, Ninja Gaiden, Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Double Dragon 2, Double Dragon 3 and Contra.I love the Shatterhand soundtrack. I don't remember how I came across it but I remember listening to it on my lunch breaks for an entire summer a few years ago when I was first seriously getting into composing chiptunes. It strikes that rare balance of technical dexterity that keeps the songs fresh every time they loop but also have great melodies that aren't annoying with repeated plays. I never had an NES as a kid but had a C-64 so most of my memories are built around the Commodore sound. A close second is Super Mario Bros. which has a great sunny calypso feel to it. The Metroid title track is one of my favourite NES tracks as it is a great overture for the game and has a strong dark vibe that really went against the grain of the songs of the time.Overall, it's a toss-up between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: The Manhattan Project, and Maniac Mansion. TMNT3 is pure perfection; it flawlessly captures the insane melange of late-80s leather-pantsed, 8000 watt, hard rockin' power-pop that was Konami's sound. Maniac Mansion, on the other hand, is raw, crude, uses a crappy American music driver with dumb-sounding instrumentation, no dynamic control, and abysmal timing (due probably to hasty midi conversions), and... is insanely brilliant and witty and funny and well-written and memorable. Its personality shines through the mediocre sound engine. More than maybe any soundtrack I know of, this is the "holy grail" of OCR-style arrangement for me, and some day I will attempt it. Classic NES character you’d be the best parody of if teleported into the world of Retro City RampageSam from Super Dodgeball! I play real life dodgeball in the Vancouver Dodgeball League three times a week, and I've even given names to some of my secret "special" throws, haha. Slap a green jersey on me and I'd be a dead ringer for Sam.Ha! Leonardo. TMNT was never a game that I played but I watched the original animated series back as a kid - nothing cooler than ninjas back in those days...!A fat, Jewish Golgo 13.(turns around)…Either that or the sub-boss from Double Dragon 2 Mission 1 with the creepy double disintegrating death animation. That guy's rad. I like his mask.Superpower you’d pick from any classic NES franchiseThe Spinwheel/"Jump-N-Slash" move from Ninja Gaiden, without question. That way I could roll around and smoke any boss with one hit. And it only takes five ninja points!I'd definitely want the mushroom power from Super Mario! I like the star power as well since the music change is really cool too but the mushrooms are much more useful overall. I even wrote a reggae-style song for it called "Toadstool Om Nom." If only toadstools where like this in real life… hmm…[embed]226249:43459[/embed]Probably Kirby. When you think about it, he's really the Rogue (X-Men) of Nintendo games, he can absorb any other power he wants. Except Kirby's more my style, because he is large, pink, and loves to swallow.Favorite track you wrote for the game (with lots of detail!)Two tracks. The two that took the longest to finish!The first is the track "Cyborg Mission II" (from the pre-order bonus tracks).Originally, [Brian Provinciano] wanted to use a lot of my older tracks as casual music you could hear on the radio when you are driving around the world map. Some of the tracks date back quite a ways to my first chiptune album (Melodia di Infinita). When I wrote those songs, the idea of ever having my chiptunes in a game was a pipe dream. There were no real retro throwback games, and mobile devices weren't yet used for gaming. I wrote them as a hobby, and I was (in my opinion) pretty bad at it from a technical standpoint. I've had years and years to listen to these old songs, and more and more I found little things I wished I could change. It had become so bad that I couldn't even listen to my old stuff. A couple of these songs, Brian was interested in using for the game! This was kind of a chance for redemption, because I was able to go back in to my original .IT files [Editor’s Note: .IT is a file format native to Impulse Tracker, a DOS-based software used to write music] and fix them up. It took quite a while, but I was actually able to make peace with every single "classic" track Brian wanted to use... Except one. The original "Cyborg Mission."Brian, however, seemed to enjoy the original quite a lot, and even featured it in a cut scene for one of the demo builds he'd sent me. I knew that this track had to be fixed, no matter what. I struggled and struggled with my original file, trying to make it sound up to par, but my methods back then were just too crusty. In the original .IT file, I must have used drum samples from 6 or more NES games, and my drum fills were just a machine gun firing out all of them all over the place. There were also little melodic bits that trailed off and didn't connect anywhere (transitions are so important). It seemed like a lost cause, so, I just decided it was time to rewrite the entire song anew, using my modern templates and techniques. Instead of just recreating the song though, I went somewhere totally new with it, and it came out very epic. I look at it as a triumph over my old careless ways, and I can finally put the original Cyborg Mission to rest. Though, I still have online friends that tell me they prefer the original. Psssht, fanboys.The second is the track "Smut Peddler."[embed]226249:43460[/embed]This all started out so simple... In November of 2010, Brian asked me if I could write a parody track for a mission in the game that would resemble the classic Paper Boy. The original Paper Boy only had one extremely simple song that played during every second of gameplay. One simple song that will forever haunt my dreams.This was the first time I had ever been tasked with parodying a song in chiptune format. Up until this point, I had painstakingly worked at accurately recreating songs in NES format. But making something sound similar, without actually being the original is so much harder (virt makes it look and sound so easy). And since this was not just a project for fun, I learned I could potentially get Brian in some legal trouble. My first draft was a little too close to the original song for Brian's comfort. I basically, directly, referenced portions of the original song, then transitioned into my own unique sections, and back and forth. Brian really liked my sections, and asked me if I could just alter the pieces that referenced the original enough so that it would not be a legal issue, and this was what caused so much trouble. Altering the sections was definitely foreign territory for me, and I didn't really know what was allowed, or how much you needed to change it. Throughout the entire process I kept pestering virt through email, asking him if he thought I had changed it enough. But in the end, the portions of the original song just pervaded, and Brian was quite concerned. The real shame was, the parts that I wrote from scratch were some of Brian’s and my favourite music I had written for the game, and neither Brian or I wanted to see them go. But simply removing the portions that sounded too close to the original and leaving just my parts were not possible due to the way everything was transitioned together.In November of 2011, a year of 'here and there' revisions went by, still with no luck, and it came time to release the soundtrack for Retro City Rampage. “Smut Peddler” was a definite choice to be on the soundtrack, if only it could be finished. Eventually, I think it was Len (FreakyDNA) who came along and peppered my file with some of his own melodies and sent it back to me as a suggestion for how to proceed. I didn't end up using the suggestions, but it was this small collaborative effort that really sparked my creativity again for this track, and over the next couple days, I was able to belt out a finished version that was finally license free! It wasn't until I heard Freaky's ideas and a different perspective that I was finally able to pull myself out of the depths of hell and finish. For any other musicians out there who are simply stuck (both creatively, and systematically), if it is in your means, have a friend offer you some suggestions. It will kick your butt into shape.All said and done, I spent over 100 hours of my life on this song... now go back and listen to the original, hahaha. My nightmare.[embed]226249:43461[/embed]My favourite track for the game is "Bit Happy." I had a listen to the original game and thought I'd try to follow some of the existing song melodies but I ended up not taking anything from the original game at all. I basically just sat down and composed the core of the song in a few hours by figuring out some riffs that I really liked on the acoustic guitar while sitting in the sun at home. I transposed these riffs into OpenMPT and figured out how to arrange them for the NES sounds. Unlike a lot of my other chiptune songs, I really tried to keep the percussion really simple as having a lot of beats tends to make the song heavier and not as happy as I wanted it to be. It was really a good exercise in restraint for me to not add extra notes but to really focus on the transitions between segments of the song. There's a heavy little electro-beat breakdown that happens in the song that I'm really pleased with as I feel I was able to move in and out of this section in a way I hadn't tried before. Basically, this song makes me happy each time I hear it so I'm glad to have been able to include it on the vinyl.[embed]226249:43462[/embed]One of the songs I'm most happy with on the technical side is "Riff Down." It was one of the first songs I came up with for Retro City Rampage and was basically through figuring out an interesting riff on the acoustic guitar. I really enjoy all the breaks that are in there and feel that it has a great funky feel without getting too technically oriented. There're parts that I really have no idea how I came up with which really helps keep the song fresh. The way I worked on the songs for Retro City Ramapge is to come up with strong melodic bits on the guitar, translate them over to the tracker program and then repeatedly polish a group of songs over the course of the two years we spent developing the songs for the game. This song and other songs have basically received days of tweaks by me over the time of the project so it's always important to not get things too "tweaky" and to make the groove the king. I've basically only been doing chiptunes a couple years now and still really like this song so it has a special place in my heart when I'm listening to it.Overall:For those that don't know, making quality chiptunes is really a labour of love, a certain amount of talent and a massive amount of time. I'd say that I can produce conventional electronic music about ten times faster than working on a similar amount of chiptune music. It's really like making music through a microscope and the tricky part is making all the details come together but still have the big picture make sense so that the song conveys the right feeling. I've learned tons by working on Retro City Rampage and the problem is that I've kinda been bit by the chiptune bug so it's hard for me to listen to certain types of music now as I can almost see their notes streaming by in a tracker. I'm really lucky to have been able to work with [Matt “Norrin Radd” Creamer] and “Jake “virt” Kaufman] and hope that people can really enjoy the depth of emotion and detail that we've done our best to put into the songs of Retro City Rampage.[embed]226249:43463[/embed]"Not Nate." The title is, if you don't already know, a reference to the late great Nate Dogg. If you don't know who that is, stop reading this article immediately and go jump in front of a bus, because screw you. You might have noticed that I enjoy trying to imitate the sound and playing technique of various instruments, from guitars to er-hu, in my chip music. Well, the human singing voice is a hard thing to imitate with plain old pulse waves. Nobody can do it nearly as well as the NES legend Chibi-Tech, and I'm not even going to try for that level of articulation (do yourself a favor and track down her chip stuff, it will blow your RAM off) so my vocal-emulation niche is mostly Michael Jackson and various hip hop and soul artists. I have listened countless times to every track Mr. Dogg sang on, so you could say I am familiar with his buttery-smooth vocal stylings. I tried my best to make it sound like he's singing the lead melody, because to my knowledge, no one else had yet given him this dubious honor. May his soul be blessed. Smoke weed every day.As far as tools, since I was a wee lad, I've used an old DOS program called Impulse Tracker to make "sound-alike" NES music, but Retro City Rampage was my last time using it -- I've since moved fully to FamiTracker (famitracker.com) which, rather than being a general-purpose music program, is made specifically for authentic NES music which can play on the real hardware. It's free, and not that hard to learn. You reader dudes and broettes should all download it and mess around, make some Nintendo music! Assuming you didn't already jump in front of the bus from before.
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We've been talking a lot about Retro City Rampage and its soundtrack dating all the way back to 2010. The game's finally due out on nearly every platform in May, and after our favorable review of the soundtrack and a look at ...

Note Worthy 001: Kingdom Hearts 3D, Journey, and more

Apr 18 // Jayson Napolitano
Airu Love You / I'll Love You ~Monster Hunter Arrange à la carte ~Release Date: August 24, 2011Price: 2,625 Yen ($32)Availability: LimitedArtist(s): Zunba Kobayashi, Jun -setzer- Kadoma, Shoichiro Sakamoto, Takahiro Eguchi, Yousuke Yasui, Teruo Taniguchi Okay, this one’s downright strange. Released by several members of SuperSweep, and more specifically, a bunch of the guys who worked on the 3D Dot Game Heroes soundtrack, this release offers an eclectic array of remixes from the Monster Hunter series.The strange part comes in with the grating Japanese vocal tracks, one of which is about meat. There are also lots of cats meowing and growling throughout the entire album in addition to the packaging featuring images cats geared up to go on an adventure. The karaoke versions provided at least liberate the strong arrangements from the terrible vocals, but it’s not all bad. There are a few great vocal tracks to be found, including one that delves into bossa nova territory, although the retro 8-bit remix of “Testament of a Hero” from Monster Hunter 3, a bumpin’ FM synthesis take on “Day on Pokke Farm” from Monter Hunter Portable 2nd, and the hard-hitting electronic remix of “Jungle Glutton / Congalala” from Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G are my favorites. There are even some arrangements from the Poka Poka Airu Mura spin-off titles.In all, there’s some great stuff here. The problem is getting your hands on it. It’s sold through SuperSweep’s online shop in Japan, and may be worth checking out if you’re a hardcore fan of the series. Denpa Ningen no RPG Original SoundtrackRelease Date: March 28, 2012Price: 2,200 Yen ($26.50)Availability: iTunes JapanArtist(s): Basiscape (Hitoshi Sakimoto, Yoshimi Kudo, Kimihiro Abe, Azusa Chiba, Masaharu Iwata, Mitsuhiro Kaneda)This is certainly a quirky one. Basiscape is one of the top sound studios in Japan with founder Hitoshi Sakimoto (Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy XII, Valkyria Chronicles) at its helm and a number of talented composers under him who can emulate his style as well as make bold statements of their own. This release, for a Japanese 3DS title, features nearly an hour and a half of music with Sakimoto handling the main theme which sports funky bass, strange electric shock sound effects, and a bubbly melody that sets the tone for the rest of the album. Think of a blend between Earthbound and Paper Mario and that’s what you have here. It’s kind of in line with the team’s impressive score for Opoona, but unfortunately with a lot less emotion. Two tracks that did stand out for me were the incredibly abstract “Antenna Tower” with its pitch-bending synth lines and the super funky “Cave” with its hip-hop percussion and playfully spooky soundcape.This one probably isn’t for everyone as I didn’t find a whole lot to sink my teeth into. Given the hefty asking price for a digital release (it’s probably best that they went digital, but not at this price point), I can’t see myself recommending it. Still, fans of the Basiscape team or those looking for something ‘weird’ from Japan may want to check it out, even if that means purchasing “Cave” on its own.[embed]225854:43396[/embed] Journey Original SoundtrackRelease Date: April 10, 2012Price: $4.99Availability: iTunes / CD release TBAArtist(s): Austin WintoryAfter having an amazing experience playing through the game, I had to wait in anticipation all over again for the game’s soundtrack. We hosted a lovely feature with Austin Wintory about his work on Journey where he discussed the creation of several pieces as well as offered samples, but with the complete soundtrack in hand, I’m surprised there’s actually so much music here, totaling nearly an hour of music. And all of it sounds fantastic with live session artists and even a live orchestra.All the key elements are here for you to re-experience Journey all over again, but this time aurally. There’s the blistering wind of “The Call,” the playful “Threshold,” the vibrant “Road of Trials” (one of my personal favorites), the foreboding “Temptations” with its lovely harp work and the ominous “Descent” with its rumbling percussion. There are some more atmospheric pieces in between before a powerful trio closes out the album with the desperate “Nadir” that accompanies a key moment in the game, the jubilant and dreamy “Apotheosis,” and the emotionally charged ending vocal theme, “I was Born for This.”Even when you’re out on the go, you can experience the magic of Journey any time with this soundtrack. Even those who didn’t play the game should appreciate Austin Wintory’s majestic score, and it obviously comes just as highly recommended as the game itself.[embed]225854:43397[/embed]Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance Original SoundtrackRelease Date: April 18, 2012Price: 3,800 Yen ($47 USD)Availability: CD Japan / Play-AsiaArtist(s): Yoko Shimomura, Tsuyoshi Sekito, Takeharu IshimotoI’ve never been a huge fan of Kingdom Hearts titles or their soundtracks. I always found them to be overly upbeat to the point of being cheesy, but that all changed with Birth by Sleep, which took a much more mature approach in the music department. Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance follows suit coming as light-hearted but not cheesy,and changes things up a bit by adding a lot of electronic sounds to the heavily orchestral palette of the series.Series composer Yoko Shimomura handles the majority of the score, starting with the popular series main theme, “Dearly Beloved,” which gets a sweet waltz arrangement. She provides an eclectic mix of tracks, but my favorites would be the angelic “The World of Dream Drops” with its bell tress, piano, and strings, the elegant yet desperate “La Chloche” with timpani and harpsichord, “All for One” with its classy melody, and “Distant From You...,” which comes as a beautiful and heartwrenching duet between strings and harp. “Deep Drop” also stands out with its dark electronic sound accented by organ.Square Enix’s Tsuyoshi Sekito and Takeharu Ishimoto also join the mix, with Sekito providing mostly epic orchestral cues with “Majestic Wings” and “Gigabyte Mantis” being my favorites. Ishimoto, on the other hand, provides several memorable moments with his electronic contributions that start with several remixes from The World Ends With You (the bumpin’ club version of “Calling” is my personal favorite) as well as several moody and textural electronic tracks, of which “Keyblade Cycle” stands out with its unsettling and glitchy soundscape. There are also several classical pieces by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and others tucked away at the end of the album.There’s some great music here, and the packaging for this three-disc collection is delightful with glossy cardboard and some classy silhouettes on the discs themselves. Fans will want to definitely check out what’s new with the Kingdom Hearts series, while others may want to wait and play the game before deciding to drop close to $50 USD on this one.Manabu Namiki WORKS Vol.2 ~Thunder Dragon 2~Release Date: December 21, 2011Price: 2,625 Yen ($32)Availability: CD JapanArtist(s): Manabu NamikiFor those who don’t know, Manabu Namiki has become somewhat of a legend over the years for his soundtracks to many a shmup title from Cave, Zuntata, and more. He’s also a member of Basiscape. This album presents his soundtrack to the 1993 title, Thunder Dragon 2. While the album contains 17 tracks, several are ‘alternate versions’ of the same two themes that accompany you throughout all of the game’s seven stages.While “Fly to Live,” “Live to Fly,” and their variations are your standard energetic shmup tracks with an electronic backing and a jazzy vibe, the highlights are the two new arrangements: the super funky “Still Live to Fly” by Shinji Hosoe and the touching piano ballad, “Fly to Live -Love Theme-“ by Namiki himself. I also dig the epic final battle theme, “Marginal Attack” and the ridiculous “Voice Collection,” showing off some of the worst voice acting of all time.With so little music presented here when you remove the countless indistinguishable variations on the two stage themes, only hardcore fans of Manabu Namiki will probably find this worth the price.Piano Collections NieR Gestalt & ReplicantRelease Date: March 21, 2012Price: 2,800 Yen ($34)Availability: CD JapanArtist(s): Keigo Hoashi, Kumi Tanioka, Ryuichi Takada, Yuri Misumi This was easily my most anticipated release of 2012. The NieR soundtrack is one of my favorites of all time, but I wasn’t sure how this album would work without the haunting vocals of Emi Evans. I was impressed to find that the arrangements here retained their magic, but in a different way. The arrangements are pretty straightforward, with MoNACA (the game’s original composition team) handling most of the arrangements and performances and guest Kumi Tanioka (Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles) performing three, which was a nice treat.In the end, the question as to whether or not these arrangements are ‘better’ than the original ones is kind of a pointless one. I don’t think they are better or worse, but rather, different. I’ll usually default to the original versions with Emi Evans, but I can’t discount the soothing and simply elegant arrangements here either. I definitely think it’s worth checking out on its own merits as well as to send a message to Square Enix that we want more NieR.The Music of Retro City RampageRelease Date: February 2, 2012Price: $7.99 CAD (Digital) / $43 CAD (Vinyl)Availability: BandcampArtist(s): Freaky DNA, Norrin Radd, virt[Update: You can pick up the vinyl for $39 CAD directly from Lotus Audio if you're interested]Retro City Rampage is attempting to be the ultimate expression of fanservice to those like me who consider the NES to be their first videogame love. The quirky humor and endless videogame references carry over into the soundtrack, and the team has once again done things right by releasing the soundtrack composed by three accomplished chiptune artists well before the release of the game to generate hype along with a limited editon vinyl release that is simply beautiful (and yes, the blue version I drooled over is almost sold out, and the green is completely gone).The soundtrack itself is a lot of fun, although somewhat short at just about 40 minutes in length. Fan-favorite virt gives us a gritty and irreverent opening theme as well as a few parody tracks that made me chuckle, including “Not Mega…” that sounds almost exactly like… well, that famous blue guy. He actually contributes the fewest number of tracks, followed by Freaky DNA who brings the funk with “Half Steppin’” and “Bit Happy,” two of my favorite tracks on album. Norrin Rad handles the largest number of tracks, lending a poppy sound with the catchy “Dance Off,” the spacey “Proton Decay,” and the giddy “Smut Peddler.”I can’t say that many of the melodies here stuck with me afterwards, but I imagine that will change after playing the game. I love what the team has done with the soundtrack and especially the fact that they’ve released It before the game’s release. Be sure to check it out.[embed]225854:43399[/embed]SONIC ADVENTURE Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary EditionRelease Date: May 18, 2011Price: 2,400 Yen ($29) (physical) / $9.99 (digital)Availability: CD Japan / iTunesArtist(s): Jun Senoue, Kenichi Tokoi, Masaru Setsumaru, Fumie KumataniThis is an odd release that came out last year to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s odd in that it’s a single disc ‘best of’ collection, whereas the originally issued soundtrack contained two discs. Why they didn’t re-issue the full two-disc soundtrack, I don’t know, but it goes for hundreds of dollars on the used market these days, so with this release, you may as well take what you can get.And you’ll want to take it. Crush40 and Jun Senoue have been, in my opinion, destroying Sonic’s musical legacy for so long with all their cheesy vocal tracks that I’d forgotten just how good this soundtrack was. Senoue and Crush40 are here, but this is their first outing together, so they come off as more subdued. The few tracks that Crush40 is featured on are actually tasteful and catchy. As for the rest of the soundtrack, it’s some of the best that the Sonic series has to offer with incredibly melodies covering pop, rock, and electronic styles. I could list nearly every track on this collection as a favorite, so I’ll refrain and simply say “Windy Hill” from Windy City and “Egg Carrier - A Song That Keeps Us On The Move” are my jam.Fans of classic Sonic the Hedgehog music that missed out on the two-disc version will want to pick this up for sure.SONIC THE HEDGEHOG CD Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary EditionRelease Date: November 23, 2011Price: 2,400 Yen ($29) (physical) / $9.99 (digital)Availability: CD Japan / Play-Asia / iTunesArtist(s): Masafumi Ogata, Naofumi HatayaFew soundtracks are as controversial as the Sonic CD soundtrack. The original soundtrack was composed by Sega composers in Japan and was featured intact in the Japanese and European releases of the game. Fans in North America were probably unaware, however, that Sega of America completely re-scored the game for the North America release. The original score was much more electronic in style, resembling past Sonic soundtracks, while the North American version got a more atmospheric slant. Why this was done, nobody knows, but it happened, and there wasn’t a proper release for the original Japanese/European soundtrack until now.What you have are the core stage themes with additional “good future,” “bad future,” and “boss” mixes. I have to say that while I like both versions of the soundtrack, I prefer the ones presented here with a fun, tropical “Palmtree Panic,” the sexy smooth jazz flavored “Tidal Tempest,” the upbeat fusion “Quartz Quandrant,” and the chugging electronic “Wacky Workbench” areas. The early 1990s-flavored hip-hop version of “Stardust Speedway” also made me chuckle. While this version resonates with me more, I do have to admit I like Nielsen’s “Sonic Boom” vocal theme better than the horrible hip-hop “You Can Do Anything” found here, and the inspirational rap ending theme, “Believe in Yourself” is just embarrassing. There are some bonus remixes found here as well, including renditions of “Sonic Boom” and “Stardust Speedway” featuring Jun Senoue, Crush40 and Cash Cash (an electronic group featured heavily on Sonic Generations). Fans of Naofumi Hataya (who also scored NiGHTS) should appreciate the track-by-track artist breakdown.Of all the 20th anniversary soundtrack releases, this one is most worth your attention as it’s not a simple re-issue, but a first-time release with bonuses. It’s worth checking out to get an alternate take on the game’s soundtrack for fans in North America who didn’t know any better. Valkyria Chronicles 3 Sound and Song CollectionRelease Date: May 11, 2011Price: 3,500 Yen ($42)Availability: CD Japan / Play-AsiaArtist(s): Hitoshi Sakimoto, Shiro Sagisu, Hikaru Nanase, Masato Nakayama, Katsuhiko Kurosu This is another one by Hitoshi Sakimoto. I love his Western-flavored Valkyria Chronicles soundtracks, and the soundtrack for Valkyria Chronicles 3 was particularly mature and moody after the more upbeat Valkyria Chronicles 2. I’m looking at this one so late after its release because it was initially released by Basiscape Records in February 2011. I was wondering what this re-issue was all about, and apparently it’s the same great soundtrack with the wonderful guitar arrangements featured on the Basiscape release swapped out for four licensed vocal themes used in the game and in the anime adaptation. These are rather standard Japanese pop and rock tracks, although JAM Project’s “Song of the Soldiers Chasing the Wind” from the game actually fits in with the score as a triumphant march with male choral-style singing, much to my surprise.I’d honestly recommend picking up the Basiscape Records version with its guitar arrangements over this one. They are incredibly well done, and with the exception of the aforementioned JAM Project track, the vocal themes here don’t have a whole lot of connection to the series. You can pick up the Basiscape Records version at CD Japan as well.[embed]225854:43423[/embed]
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Welcome to Note Worthy, a new feature we’re rolling out on Destructoid! If you’ve read anything I’ve contributed over the past year at Destructoid, you’ve probably noticed that it all pertains to game ...

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Retro City Rampage cereal is a download for your face


Apr 01
// Tony Ponce
"I can really taste the graphics!" How many videogames can you play as well as eat? Inspired by Ralston's nasty-ass Nintendo Cereal System from back in the day, Retro City Rampage: The Cereal brings the pixelated action of R...
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Is Nintendo's favorite ape coming to Retro City Rampage?


Feb 29
// Jonathan Holmes
[Destructoid's Director of Communications Hamza Aziz asked Jonathan Holmes to make a show called 'Sup Holmes?' so that Destructoid could later sell a t-shirt that says 'Sup Holmes?' on it. This is that show. Download the...
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Sup Holmes? Talking modern gaming with Brian Provinciano


Feb 26
// Jonathan Holmes
[Destructoid's Director of Communications Hamza Aziz asked Jonathan Holmes to make a show called 'Sup Holmes?' so that Destructoid could later sell a t-shirt that says 'Sup Holmes?' on it. This is that show. Missed the l...
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This weekend on Twitch TV: Tales from Retro City


Feb 24
// Bill Zoeker
As the weekends grow on Destructoid's Twitch TV channel, we continue to bring the thunder with every hour of programming. It starts today with Mash Tactics' "Community Collaboration Friday" with the caster so good Twitch TV h...
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The DTOID Show: Borderlands 2, RCR, & toys! SO MANY TOYS!


Feb 22
// Tara Long
Happy Wednesday, fellow Destructoid readers! It's time for yet another episode of your regularly-scheduled evening video game news program. On today's show, I swoon over the latest Borderlands 2 trailer and congratulate Nint...
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Retro City Rampage OST now on Bandcamp and limited vinyl


Feb 22
// Jayson Napolitano
Retro City Rampage is just a few short months away, and I for one have been looking forward to the game's 8-bit soundtrack composed by Jake "virt" Kaufman, Leonard "Freaky DNA" Paul, and Matt "Norrin Radd" Creamer. It looks a...
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Retro City Rampage creator Brian Provinciano promised a development update for February 20, so here it is. Is he not a man of his word? The most important bit of news is that, in addition to WiiWare and Xbox Live Arcade, Ret...

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The DTOID Show: Mass Effect on iOS and Psychonauts 2?!


Feb 08
// Tara Long
Could it be that all our dreams have suddenly been answered in just one, 13-minute news program? I hope not, otherwise I may as well pack up my desk and non-existent belongs RIGHT NOW. (Don't worry, I'll never give you the s...
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It's not done yet!? Retro City Rampage update on Feb. 20


Feb 08
// Tony Ponce
Oh, Brian Provinciano! Pretending like you are so hard at work when you are actually chilling in Cancún, smoking expensive Cuban cigars. How dare you string us along! I'm kidding, of course (maybe), but the wait to pl...

Destructoid's most wanted Wii / Wii U games of 2012

Jan 11 // Jonathan Holmes
Rhythm Heaven Fever (Wii) Developer: Nintendo SPD Group No. 1, TNXPublisher: NintendoRelease: February 13, 2012 Minna no Rhythm Tengoku (renamed Rhythm Heaven Fever for the US) was one of my favorite games of 2011; it's the only game of 2011 that I'm sure I'll be playing over and over for the rest of my life. I brought the game to several parties over the winter holidays, and despite the fact that I was playing to generally non-gamer crowds, the game still went over like gangbusters. It's instantly fun, endlessly replayable, and packed with content, and it plays upon gaming's greatest strength -- the ability to use controls, visuals, and sound to create a seamless bond between the player and the game. That's something that a lot of rhythm games do well, but I think Rhythm Heaven Fever does it better than almost all the rest. At its budget price, you would have to be a true hater of goodness and light to pass it up. If you think it looks too "weird" or "casual," do yourself a favor by ignoring your own perception and relinquishing your judgment to me. Buy this game as soon as you can. You won't regret it (unless they screw up the English localization again, in which case just import it). The Last Story (Wii) Developer: Mistwalker, AQ InteractivePublisher: NintendoRelease: February 24, 2012 (EU) Speaking of imports, I've already imported The Last Story, and I can say that it stands alongside Super Mario Galaxy and Skyward Sword as one of the best-looking, most painstakingly crafted games in the Wii's library. Sadly, my Japanese is crap, so I'll be importing this game from Europe or, hopefully, picking it up in the US later this year. I need to know what the hell is going on! Fans of Hironobu Sakaguchi's prior games (Final Fantasy I-IX, Lost Odyssey, etc.) or anyone who loves inventive third-person action-RPGs owes it to themselves to check this one out. It's not everyday that you get to witness one of the most influential developers in the history of the medium reinvent the genre that they helped create. Dragon Quest X (Wii, Wii U) Developer: Square Enix, Armor ProjectPublisher: Square EnixRelease: 2012 (Wii) / TBA (Wii U) We still don't know a ton about Dragon Quest X other than the fact that Square Enix has been working on it forever, as well as how it aims to combine the strengths of MMOs with the traditional single-player RPG experience for something that will please both audiences. The game is about one of two twins who is magically transformed into one of the game's other races, sort of like the Melvin Van Peebles classic Watermelon Man, only less racist. That's all well and good, but what I really want out of Dragon Quest X is the opportunity to explore a huge, Akira Toriyama-created world alone or with friends, experiencing all its fine details and, in doing so, creating my own story.  Honorable Mentions: Kiki Trick, Pandora's Tower, Retro City Rampage Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii) Developer: Monolith SoftPublisher: NintendoRelease: April 2012 See what happens when a company digs out its ears and listens to the fans? It was pretty much like pulling teeth with Nintendo, but now Xenoblade Chronicles is on its way to the US. Sure, I could have imported the European version, but having a cheaper option is always nice. I'm stoked, and I'm not even that big of an RPG guy! I've played several Final Fantasy titles, tried and failed to get into the Tales series, enjoyed Golden Sun, and dabbled lightly elsewhere. Still, all the positive word of mouth from our friends across the Atlantic is making it really hard to not get overly excited. La-Mulana (WiiWare) Developer: Nigoro, NicalisPublisher: NicalisRelease: 2012 Speaking of games that have been out in Japan forever, here's indie platformer La-Mulana. The game is finished, having gone through some last-minute bug fixes following the Japanese release, and now is waiting on Nintendo of America to give the go-ahead. Who knows how long that will take. There is non-console port on the way (PC, though a likely platform, isn't actually specified), and it would be a laugh riot if it came out before the WiiWare version. It's no secret that my poison of choice is a nice, juicy 2D platformer with wonderful pixel art and a hefty amount of challenge. A game that tosses Castlevania, Metroid, and Indiana Jones into a blender and hits "frappé"? Obviously, it's going to be a winner. If you want to play the game right now, the original has been available online for free since 2005. However, as with Cave Story, I'm curious as to the extent of the changes and upgrades in the remake. Retro City Rampage (WiiWare, Xbox Live Arcade) Developer: Vblank EntertainmentPublisher: Vblank EntertainmentRelease: 2012 I feel bad for Vblank's Brian Provinciano. I like to joke about Retro City Rampage's lengthy development, and I enjoy hitting Brian up on Facebook with such constructive comments as, "What are you doing right now? BREATHING!? When you should be WORKING!?" In all honesty, I don't envy his situation. The game has been in the works for nearly a decade, back when it was known as Grand Theftendo. Since then, Brian has had to jump through so many hoops just to see his baby through. Next time I see the man, I have to treat him to a steak dinner or at least some froyo. At one point, Retro City Rampage was a Grand Theft Auto parody. I don't know what it is anymore -- it defies classification. It's a love letter to 80s, an homage to videogames throughout the ages, and the debut of many Destructoid editors as game characters. You ask Brian to include something in the game, and the guy will probably find a way to squeeze in that reference. If nothing else, Retro City Rampage is going to be huge. Honorable Mentions: Rhythm Heaven Fever, The Last Story, Pandora's Tower, Rodea the Sky Soldier As for the Wii U, no real exclusives have been firmly announced for the thing yet, though we'll be keeping a close eye for more news on Pikmin 3, Smash Bros. Wii U / 3DS, and Miyamoto's new secret project. Then there is the promise of an enhanced Wii U version of Dragon Quest X, Batman: Arkham City, Darksiders II, Aliens: Colonial Marines, and many others. I'd also be highly surprised if we didn't get a compilation of some of the Wii U "experiences" that were on display at E3 2010. I'd love to see that Metroid-themed multiplayer shooter, Mario-themed hide-and-seek, Rhyhm Heaven-style pirate game, and (Shannon's favorite!) Measure Up, all crammed into one Wii Sports-style, minigame collection pack-in. Then there is No More Heroes 3, which Suda51 told me TO MY FACE is still headed to the Wii U. So while there is still a lot left to see confirmed, there is plenty to be excited about in 2012 for the wacky, wonderful world of Wii U.   Additional staff picks for the Wii / Wii U: Chad Concelmo: Rhythm Heaven Fever, Pikmin 3 Sean Daisy: LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, Dragon Quest X, Darksiders IIAndrew Kauz: Dragon Quest X, Xenoblade ChroniclesTara Long: Retro City RampageKyle MacGregor: Retro City Rampage, Rhythm Heaven Fever, The Last StoryAllistair Pinsof: Xenoblade ChroniclesMax Scoville: Actual Wii U games that aren't tech demos about birds and cherry blossoms Josh Tolentino: Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story 
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There were a few excellent third-party releases on the Wii in 2011 (Bit.Trip Complete immediately comes to mind), but for the most part, last year marked the end of an era for the console. The Wii didn't even get th...

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Biffman brings vigilante justice to Retro City Rampage


Oct 27
// Conrad Zimmerman
Vblank Entertainment dropped off a new trailer for Retro City Rampage, arriving early next year on Xbox Live Arcade and WiiWare. When The Player discovers the secret lair of Theftropolis' greatest vigilante, Biffman, he takes the opportunity to do a little crime fighting of his own (and eliminate some of the competition). I've said it before and I'll say it again. My body is ready.
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Retro City Rampage literally has everything


Aug 29
// Liam Fisher
It's safe to say that everyone at Destructoid is a big supporter of Retro City Rampage, the upcoming XBLA homage to retro gaming. After all, the editors are playable characters in-game alongside Mr. Destructoid himself. So o...
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Retro City Rampage playable at PAX Prime!


Aug 19
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
[Update: Winners picked!] Brian Provinciano's Retro City Rampage will be making its last visit to a PAX before its release later this year. Fans will get to play the game at booth #3011 and have a chance to win some sweet pri...
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Retro City Rampage gets some murderous new screens


Jul 23
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
In case you've forgotten, Mr. Destructoid is a playable character in Retro City Rampage! Not only that, but Destructoid is a playable level. Nuts! These new screens from developer Vblank Entertainment show off some parts of t...

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