Early on May 17, 2016, Nintendo has formally announced that there will be a Patch 1.1.6 for Super Smash Brothers for both the 3DS and the WiiU. Nintendo has been keeping this patch under wraps and giving absolutely no details about the patch except that the download will be 61MB. Considering most update patches were of a smaller size, one can assume that the latest patch will include more than just simple bug fixes and a little balancing here and there.
The only other detail that has been revealed is that the release will be sometime this upcoming month. With characters who have been relatively untouched since the first patch, such as Jigglypuff, King Dedede, and Palutena, this would be a prime opportunity for Nintendo to give much needed buffs to these characters and perhaps tweak a few things to make characters more balanced.
Or we can all chant “Nerf Greninja”.
What do you think will come up in the next patch? Leave your comments below!
Also known as “My love/hate relationship with Fire Emblem Awakening”
I would like to begin this opinion article by making one disclaimer. If you are the type of person who goes in reading an article with a strong opinion beforehand and do not have an open mind, stop right here. If you are the type of person who will stop reading something halfway through because you disagree with what is said and do not even bother to read to the end, this article is not for you. This is merely a seasoned, longtime series veteran’s viewpoint of the franchise, how I feel the series has gone after Fire Emblem Awakening, its unique position considering Fire Emblem Fates and the fan reaction to its release, and potential ideas for the future of the franchise. With that aside, please bear in mind this is only opinion and speculation and, as such, there will be biases involved.
I begin this article with putting this one fact at the forefront. Fire Emblem has been one of only two franchises I can legitimately say that I will buy a gaming console just to play (just for FYI, the other franchise is Smash Brothers). My first splash in the series was receiving Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance as a Christmas present alongside Tales of Symphonia back in 2005. My initial reason for saving to buy a Nintendo 3DS was simply to play Awakening. I was intrigued at all the new features and gameplay mechanics they had to offer after keeping up with the news of the game through its development. After “New Mystery of the Emblem” failed to have a stateside release, I was desperately hoping the next game would see a North America release. As a side note, I would like to say I was wholeheartedly disappointed that the WiiU did not have a console Fire Emblem game.
I received Awakening as a birthday present from a close friend that I had known for many years three months after its launch, although months later I would spend extra money on eBay just to buy the blue special edition 3DS. When I first picked up the game, I found myself hooked to the game, unable to put it down, and raving to everyone I knew how much I enjoyed the game. Yet, as I finished my fourth playthrough of the game, I could not ignore the nagging feeling in the back of my head that something felt off. It was not until when Fates was announced that I realized what was bothering me.
Fire Emblem Awakening signaled a change in the franchise toward a direction that was less faithful to its roots. It was a modernization of the game’s franchise, most likely done in order to try to save a series that was potentially on its last ever release due to the consistent, depressingly low sales numbers and lukewarm reception. I noticed characters that acted like by-the-books archetypes largely present in anime, such as Lucina being The Woobie, Noire being a Shrinking Violet, Frederick being the stoic servant, etc. which served as appeal to the average anime fan out there. My inner anime nerd (and yes, I will admit that I was once a hardcore NaruHina shipper) was guiltily enjoying this game, but the side of me that loved Fire Emblem really was not impressed. Support conversations were now opposite sex shipping wars instead of meaningful bonding between two characters, pairing up was a broken mechanic, fanservice seemed to pop up more and more, and boringly uninspired map designs and goals began to bother me.
Awakening was a last ditch effort of a company which used a hodgepodge of various gimmicks and mechanics that were unique to the previous games to help give it some traction. Some features include the world map of Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones, the skill system of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, the generational system of Fire Emblem: Geneaology of the Holy War, the class change system of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, unbreakable weapons from Fire Emblem Gaiden, the avatar in Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem, etc. It combined these mechanics, the core gameplay of the series, and adding in modern market trends based on what was trending at that point in time and managed to become a commercial success.
Yet, sales dictate business and business dictate where a series goes. Fire Emblem Awakening was a huge commercial success and, as much as I initially loved the game, I feared the series would take a turn for the worse down a road that took the series further and further from its roots. My hope was that Awakening would bring in a new crop of fans to the fold and be used as a bridge so that this new generation could play the older games and see the magic of the series proper. My initial hope was that the next game would rein in the diversion from the main series and slowly bridge the new fans into the gameplay and story of the older games. However, after seeing the initial trailer for Fates and seeing what was initially put on the table, I felt like my worst fears had been confirmed. The older fans of the series, who had faithfully bought every game in the series, were being ignored in favor of the huge market of new fans that Awakening had brought in. I could see a split in the fandom between the old guard and new fans, much like /b/ had disagreements over Boxxy (and I might just be dating myself on that reference).
What made the old Fire Emblem games great was that they were niche. We were not the largest video game fanbase by any means and we sure as heck did get elitist some of the time… okay, a lot of the time. After all, the fanbase will steadfastly argue that “personal experience means nothing” and only a character’s “average stats” could be used in any debate regarding a character’s worth. Yet, we were still a tightly knit community that created some truly impressive fan works and some impressively long fanfiction. Some that are worth nothing are Gunlord500’s “Wayward Son”, Onionbreath002’s “Fourteen Days”, FoxwolfJackson’s “Spellbinding Radiance”, CormagRavenstaff’s “Final Emblem: Dawn Over an Old World”, and voltaire22’s “Debt of Honor”. Many of these stories were high-calibur prose that showed creativity and ingenuity and, with the exception of Spellbinding Radiance, were not a bunch of self-insert original characters in adaptations of the games like most of the Ylisse universe fanfiction has become.
The point is the fanbase has now been saturated with a bunch of new blood that have a different perception of the series as the older fans and a different vision of what the future of the IP holds. Now, I’m not going to grumble and complain that they “ruined the franchise” as many of the older fans have been, but when I hear most of these new people won’t touch the older games because they’re “too hard” or “the old art style looks weeby” or “I can’t marry units together, what’s the point?” or “where’s my casual mode?”, that becomes a tipping point of wondering what is the future of this franchise. The future of gaming markets in general seem to have taken an interesting turn, where games are only partially released and DLC is used to complete it down to somewhat shameless fanservice for those who want to spend the extra cash to experience it first-hand.
Honestly, if a person has to play the game in Phoenix mode in order to beat it, then Fire Emblem really is not a game series for them, and Intelligent Systems has to realize it. Not every genre is meant to be played by every gamer. Case and point is that I am woefully inept at first-person shooters and, prior to playing the Overwatch beta and started going around in D.va’s mech suit and the jumpy Tracer, I only did decently in Call of Duty. Real first-person shooters, like Counterstrike and Battlefield, were simply being a sitting duck and contributing more to the opposing team than to my own. I am an FPS filthy casual shotgun newbie in Call of Duty and I will admit it.
With that out of the way, I have taken a few moments to step back from the situation and have tried to observe it in a non-biased way possible. What I noticed is a potential for Intelligent Systems to capitalize on what they have created in this somewhat interesting situation they have for themselves.
I am, by no means, arguing that a change in game design and direction is a bad thing. After all, Resident Evil 4 was the first game in the series that deviated away the Survival Horror genre characteristics that helped drive the first three games. It was a highly enjoyable game and one of the best selling Resident Evil games out there. Metroid Prime decided to take the series from a third person side-scrolling horror survival-esque resource management adventure into a first-person action adventure world exploration game and is arguably the best Metroid game released. Let’s not even get started on how many stylistic changes Final Fantasy has made from the first one to the current one. Change can be good, when implemented properly.
With the release of Birthright and Conquest in Fire Emblem Fates, Intelligent Systems has, whether purposefully or accidentally, released two games that split the fanbase further by having different nuances that catered either to the old fans or the new fans. Conquest definitely caught my attention in how much of a throwback it was to this old Fire Emblem fan whereas Birthright definitely had more of an Awakening appeal in its difficulty and mechanics. Perhaps this was intentional to see what to do to further develop the series. Personally, I can see two directions that the company could take.
The first option that I believe Intelligent Systems could take is simply analyze the sales of the two versions. This is the most logical reason why both were released prior to Revelation, as they the gameplay of Hoshido and Nohr mirror the clash of the two fanbases. The side that wins the sales war will be the direction the series will take. If Conquest outsold Birthright, Fire Emblem 15 could be more classic in gameplay; if Birthright outsold Conquest, Fire Emblem 15 could find older features cut out in order to more effectively implement new mechanics and have easier than usual difficulty.
The other option is a lot more far-fetched, but it would make a lot more sense in a business aspect. At this point, being able to appease both fanbases at once is a near impossible task for Intelligent Systems. As much as Conquest caters to the older fans, there are core gameplay mechanics that simply decrease the game’s quality. The pair-up system, while no longer broken, is a mechanic that could be done without. The generational system in this game seems to be rushed and forced into the games with a sloppy handling of how the children were implemented into the party. Characters were rather uninteresting in most support conversations and the seemingly going from “strangers” to “I love you, let’s have kids” in opposite sex support conversations was jarring and odd to say the least. The whole “My Castle” concept was interesting, but definitely unneeded.
With that being said, Intelligent Systems could cater to each side of the fanbase even further by simply creating a new IP with the progress they have made with Awakening and Birthright. While Fire Emblem proper would return back to its roots in the next entry in the franchise, this new series could take everything that made Awakening unique to the franchise and run with it. This would benefit both sides as Intelligent Systems would be free to introduce new and exciting mechanics and settings in this new series without having fear of backlash from fans of the old Fire Emblem games. The tastes and expectations in the two fanbases are so diverse and different from each other that creating a one-size-fits-all game only partially satisfies both sides, while stunting sales from those who are firmly rooted in either side.
As long as they do not call the spin-off series “Water Crest”, I would be fine. Persona is a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei series–in fact, the first Persona game was called Shin Megami Tensei: Persona–and both series do quite well with their respective fanbases. If the next Fire Emblem game sales numbers tank back to the numbers it had prior to Awakening, I would be fine with the series dying with its dignity intact, rather than see it be “modernized” into something I can hardly recognize, until Intelligent Systems pulls a Sega, promises a great game, and gives us Fire Emblem 2006 starring Princess Elise.
Besides, hey, as much as I have griped about Awakening and Fates, both were still highly enjoyable experiences in their own right. If they really make a separate series as the latter suggestion has, I would be all for buying the game. I love the tactical strategy genre and, if they truly give that series its own identity, it could rival Fire Emblem as becoming one of my favorite series and a solitary reason to buy a Nintendo console. Just keep the same composer, because the soundtracks for Fates and Awakening were leagues better than the previous games.
It is a win-win, Intelligent Systems… why not make it happen?
Street Fighter Producer Interested in Making Nintendo Vs. Capcom
Many fans of the Super Smash Brothers franchise were quite shocked and pleased when Capcom announced that their iconic character from Street Fighter, Ryu, would be released in Nintendo’s fighting game franchise. Some believed it to be an attempt by Smash creator, Masahiro Sakurai, to try to bridge the Smash Brothers community with other fighting game communities while others believe it to be a way for Capcom to promote Street Fighter V the way Cloud’s appearance in Smash happened shortly after the announcement of the Final Fantasy VII remake. Regardless of the motivation behind Ryu’s surprising, albeit pleasant cameo in Smash, the announcement has left the fighting game community speculating on future partnerships between Capcom and Nintendo.
In a recent interview, Capcom’s Yoshinoro Ono briefly touched upon the process and decision to include Ryu in the roster of Smash Brothers. Although Ono has revealed in an interview with Streetpass UK that he would have loved to also see Zangief or Blanka dropped into Smash Brothers, although Sakurai has already made it clear that there will be no more character additions to Smash after the addition of Corrin and Bayonetta.
While the potential with pitting Street Fighter icons against Nintendo legends in a unique fighting game system has since passed, Ono has also thrown the idea out there that he would be greatly interested in working on a traditional crossover fighting game.
Capcom has an extensive history of working on mashup fighting games including Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Marvel vs. Street Fighter, Capcom vs. SNK, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, and Marvel vs. Capcom. Given that Tatsunoko vs. Capcom was a game that was released for the Wii and is arguably one of the best fighting games of that console, it is entirely possible that “Nintendo vs. Capcom” might be more than just a pipe dream, especially considering the two companies are on friendly terms.
Granted, don’t get your hopes up for a WiiU port of Street Fighter V, but a potential partnership down the road could bode well for seeing Mario, Link, and Pikachu on a team against Albert Wesker, Zangief, and Vergil Sparda. Only question is, which team would Megaman and Phoenix Wright play for?
Watch the full interview between Ono and Streetpass UK below:
Pictures of MAGFest 14 Cosplay Outfits from Saturday
Life has a habit of providing bumps along the way, such as having issues with Photoshop running properly and delays in processing the photos. Still, Red graciously offered to lend her superior skill in the program to help optimize the pictures to the best of her ability.
These are the rest of the pictures I took, mostly from Saturday and one picture that I took on Friday that I accidentally put in the “Saturday Cosplay” folder. There were a few people that I could not get their information, whether it was their name or cosplay character–some characters I just knew so I filled it in myself, honestly–so if anybody out there can fill in the blanks, that would be greatly appreciated!
Anyway, without any further delay, I present the cosplay gallery from Saturday from MAGFest 14!
Available for ordering today, Streets of Rage 2 OST on vinyl comes in three editions
Yes, you all have heard correctly! With many people turning to listening to their favorite music in a less crisp warmer tone or simply purchasing the records as collectors, vinyl has been resurging through the markets with renewed vigor. The latest music to join this trend has been video game soundtracks. Paired with the high amounts of nostalgia in the video game culture, vinyl seems to be a perfect fit for many gamers of today.
Today, February 27, marks the first day of pre-ordering for the vinyl release of a remastered Streets of Rage 2 soundtrack. Widely regarded among video game fans as one of the most influential and well-written soundtracks of the 16-bit era, this soundtrack by Yuzo Koshiro has been taken straight from the files from his original NEC PC-88 and touched up for a modern audience. In addition to the record, two lithographs and artwork from Sega are included with the purchase.
The records come in three editions, all in 2 x 180g LP. One is a traditional black vinyl and will sell for approximately $32, whereas one can pay a few dollars more (approximately $35) and acquire a transparent vinyl with a smoke effect and optional blood spatter. Twenty-five tracks will be included with the release, which include four bonus tracks. Two examples of what the soundtrack has to offer can be found here.
Personally, I can only hope they do this with the Final Fantasy VI, Bravely Default, or Chrono Trigger soundtracks one day.
Will any of you be purchasing this for your vinyl collection? Leave your comment below!
Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon announced by Nintendo
Earlier today, Nintendo held a brief, but wonderful video event today that made Pokemon fans across the world extremely excited. Nintendo has unveiled the next games in the franchise’s main series, Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon, and it will be released in nine different languages. CEO of The Pokemon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara, said during the presentation: “We hope that, through Pokemon, players can overcome language barriers and interact with other players from around the world.”
This comes a day after a leak confirmed that Nintendo had registered a trademark with new logos for the games. Although not many details were released, fans of the series can look forward to these games in a holiday 2016 release time on the Nintendo 3DS. This is especially good news to the fans, many of whom have been waiting since Pokemon X and Pokemon Y’s release back in late 2013. One can only speculate what does “Sun” and “Moon” correlate to in the actual games, although one can assume that it relates to this generation’s legendary Pokemon.
Also coming from the announcement celebrating Pokemon’s 20th anniversary, the original Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue, and Pokemon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition will be released on the Nintendo eShop as a virtual download for fans to play. There will also be an updated version of Pokemon Bank that Nintendo also announced as follows:
“This online storage application will make it possible for fans to move Pokémon wirelessly from Pokémon Red Version, Pokémon Blue Version and Pokémon Yellow Version: Special Pikachu Edition, which come to the Virtual Console on Nintendo 3DS on February 27, to Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. Pokémon from Pokémon Omega Ruby, Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, Pokémon X, and Pokémon Y can also be transferred to Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon through Pokémon Bank”
This brings some interesting questions about the re-releases of Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow and if there has been a massive overhaul in how the gameplay mechanics work. In the original games, the IV’s (Individual Values) only went from 0-15 as opposed to 0-31 in later games, the split between Sp. Atk and Sp. Def did not happen until Generation 2, Pokemon did not have gender in the original games, there was no Nature or Ability in the original games, and attacks were considered physical or special based upon the attack’s type rather than by the individual attacks themselves (ie: all fire-type attacks were special, even attacks like Fire Punch). I am rather confident the Pokemon Company thought this through; in the meantime, many fans can simply speculate on how the developers will deal with these discrepencies.
This news is only the tip of the iceberg for the many events happening in a busy year for the franchise. Next month is the release of Pokken Tournament, a fighting game featuring Pokemon created by some of the key developers for Tekken and Soul Calibur. Later this year, Pokemon Go will release on iOS and Android.
What are your thoughts on a Generation 7 release for Pokemon? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
As some may have previously known, Red and myself went to MAGFest this year to check it out and see what it was like. Although it was Red’s first time, I had been there once prior (I had attended in 2012 and got to see the Sonic fan film premiere as well as Brentalfloss, Video Game Orchestra, and the Triforce Quartet) and knew a bit of what to expect from this magnificent event.
With Red cosplaying this time around, she handed me her Nikon camera to take pictures of cosplays that I really liked around the convention center for a post for the website. I’ll be honest, this was my first time using a camera of this quality and caliber (I’ve never used a camera outside a cell phone at a convention before), but I enjoyed it so much that I am definitely going to be borrowing it more to explore its options and perfect the art of photography.
So, in my quest, I walked around with a camera and a notebook, trying to get everyone’s names and character names so I could give proper credit to all the pictures I took. I managed to get most people’s names and cosplays, but there are some who I caught at the wrong time and were on their way somewhere, so if you know who the uncredited ones are, feel free to mention it, so I can give it proper credit. I also learned to bring a better pen and a more stable place to write in the notebook for next year, since the pen I was using was not of the best of quality. C’est la vie, every experience is a learning experience, though!
These are all pictures from Friday. Saturday’s pictures are still in the process of being touched up and will be posted sometime tomorrow.
In my four-day weekend there at MAGFest, I managed to run into so many amazing cosplays and many cosplayers who were really kind and good sports about being photographed. I managed to even talk to a few of them about their costumes and how they were put together and the amount of work they put into their outfits and some of the techniques they used to make it all come together into these awesome pieces of art and heart!
Saturday’s pictures will be up sometime tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that! What did you think of these cosplays? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Comic Books are Strewn Across Highway in a Deadpool Related Accident
Some Deadpool fans will have to wait an extended period of time before receiving their copy of the latest comic, Deadpool, Vol. 9: Institutionalized. A semi carrying a shipment of the comics from the Plattsburgh Distribution Center to the Olive Branch Distribution Center was involved with an accident in the early hours of the morning February 18th. The semi carrying the comics had broken down on the side of the road at about five o’clock in the morning and called for assistance. Sometime in the timeframe between the breakdown and the accident, the driver had fallen asleep in the cab waiting for the assistance to arrive. Two hours after calling for help, however, another semi accidentally collided with the back of the first semi, ripping open the side of the trailer, and spilling its contents all over the highway. The driver of the truck was taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries and road crews are diligently working to clear up debris.
The rather ironic part of the whole situation was the situation surrounding the crash. When the Deadpool movie was being filmed in Vancouver, a stretch of highway had to be closed down for the crew to film a massive action scene on a highway. The accident involving the deadpool comics happened on I-71 in Madison County, not too far south of Columbus, Ohio and caused the right lane of the highway to be closed for a long period of time. Sounds like the kind of publicity stunt that Deadpool himself would pull to promote a movie about him if it had happened before the February 12th release. Perhaps a commercial is in order where Ryan Reynolds stands on the side of the highway in his Deadpool costume, a single tear rolling down his cheek as Deadpool debris tumble down the road. Considering how in-character Ryan Reynolds has been during this whole time promoting Deadpool, this commercial might not be too far of a stretch.
Diamond Comics has released an official statement via email to their customers, giving them a heads up of the accident. The letter reads as follows:
“Dear Diamond Customer: As you may be aware, a truck carrying Diamond product from the Plattsburgh Distribution Center to the Olive Branch Distribution Center was involved in a serious accident that will delay some customer shipments of product on sale February 24. The driver was unhurt. Affected customers have been notified of the delay via a separate email. If you have not received that email, your shipment should arrive as scheduled. If you have additional questions regarding this advisory, please contact your Diamond Retailer Services Representative. Thank you.”
How do you feel about this bizarre and ironic turn of events? Share and comment below.
Harry Potter and the Live Orchestra: A Magical Musical Journey
Harry Potter has become a global phenomenon, spanning seven books in the main series, countless spinoff books, eight movies, a stage play, a theme park, fan conventions, and tons of merchandise. This is certainly justifiable considering the huge fan following that the franchise commands. However, recently, this magical franchise has announced yet another way to experience the Potter-mania.
Warner Bros. and CineConcerts have teamed up to re-release the original films while being accompanied by a live symphony scoring the movie. The first stop will be in Philadelphia, on June 23rd, at the Philadelphia’s Mann Center for the Performing Arts. The score, written by film score legend John Williams, will be played by the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Other stops that have been announced include San Diego, Nashville, and Grand Rapids.
This kind of experience allows fans of the movies to both enjoy the films that they know and love while experiencing what it is like to be exposed to a live orchestra in a symphonic setting. Similar to the Pokemon orchestra and Distant Worlds, this premiere will bring a younger crowd to be exposed to, possibly for the first time, the magic of orchestra.
Will any of you be attending these magical musical performances? I personally will be doing everything in my power to attend the one in Philadelphia. Comment below what you think and if you are going to any of these performances.
Now, I understand that virtually every article writer has done a top ten list, perhaps even on the same topic as this. Everyone has their own opinion on the matter; to be frankly honest, my opinion on the matter changes every so often, so it is a little difficult to compile a “top ten” list, but here we go!
Please note that this list does not include final boss themes, since that may be put in a separate list in the future. Also please note that this list tries its best to avoid outright spoilers; however, indirect spoilers may be subconsciously and unintentially implied and some cases spoilers are absolutely unavoidable.
#10: The End of Raging Waves: Etrian Odyssey III
I actually have never played this game, so I never had the opportunity to experience this song yet in its actual game. I originally considered writing The End of Raging Winds from Etrian Odyssey IV, since I really liked that song, but after hearing that song was based upon this lovely gem, I had to give it a listen. After having listened to both songs numerous times and dissected both and why I liked both, I had come to the conclusion that I liked this version better. Call me a sucker for well-written chip music, but listening to this song brings a fresh feel of a JRPG boss battle theme while taking that block of nostalgia and chipping away at it.
The song is a solid combination of a good bassline, a good lead, and percussion that help drive the feeling of necessity to win a battle. It is a solid theme and definitely will stay on the top ten for a while to come.
#9: Armada Battle Theme: Skies of Arcadia
I was hesitant on putting this on the list, because as amazing as Skies of Arcadia is, I have to say the soundtrack is actually the weakest part of this game. Not even close to saying it was a terrible soundtrack, but as great as every part of this game is, one part had to be the part that was the weakest. Every song on this soundtrack was very well made, but unfortunately for me, none of them really completely stuck out to me. The only song I can say for a fact that even somewhat stood out to me would be the theme that plays when the player fights against a member of the Valuan Armada.
The song itself is upbeat enough to definitely give the vibe of a boss battle, but it definitely has a more sombre tone in its main melody to denote that something serious is going down. However, the B-theme (or second melody in other terms) goes from having a sombre feel to a bit more of an uplifted tone. This was probably to give players the subconscious feeling that there is light at the end of the tunnel; I can certainly say that hearing that part in this song definitely raised fighting morale.
#8: Spider Dance: Undertale
This entry is only debatable because one might argue that Undertale is not truly an RPG. Personally, I feel that the game has enough RPG elements in it that I would classify it as a hybrid containing elements of classic turn-based JRPG and simpler bullet hell games. Out of all the boss themes in the game, I find this one to be the one that appeals to me the most both in terms of musical composition and how appropriate it is for the scene.
The constant movement and torrent of notes is quite reminiscent of spiders running, and I applaud composer Toby Fox for a job well done on this track. In terms of the game being a humble tribute and/or throwback to the old school RPG’s, this song definitely hits the nail on the head. Between the chiptune-esque nostalgia of the piece, the driving pace of the song, and the appropriateness of the mood set by the piece, I can definitely say this piece is worthy of being on the list.
#7: Fight Against a Somewhat Stronger Monster: Super Mario RPG
Honestly, this was a toss up, since this one and Fight Against an Armed Enemy were both spectacular boss themes on this soundtrack. However, this track managed to deliver a knockout punch and jump to the list, shooting up to the seventh spot by clawing its way up there.
Super Mario RPG is a delightfully quirky game that combines the elements of a traditional RPG with some timing elements in attacks, a whimsical plot and characterization that is signature of a Mario game, and a fantastic soundtrack that reflects both elements in this amazing amalgamation of quaint and quirk. Between the off-the-wall drumming, introductory brass fanfare that screams old school boss battle, and a melody that could go in most mario games, this song definitely is a great hybrid of Nintendo and Square’s talents.
#6: Kraken of the Sea: Earthbound
While on the topic of games on the SNES that are affably quirky, Earthbound seals this spot with the boss battle theme in the second half of the game. Earthbound is a game that delivers a deceptively simplistic world full of crazy hippies, punks on skateboards, corrupt officers, cults, and many other enemies for a good majority of the beginning of the game, leading people to a sense of security in that this game is very light-hearted. After certain events happen in the game, the turning point has the game do a complete turnabout, even going as far as to change the battle music for the boss battles (or sanctuary guardians as some have referred to them as). The last part of the game takes a decidedly dark turn and the music itself in the second boss theme of the game manages to capture that essence and deliver it great justice.
#5: Boss Battle Theme: Shin Megami Tensei IV (no official title of the track)
Although this song has no official title (to my knowledge), this track definitely replicates the grim nature of this game quite well. The entire game has you entrenched in a battle of law vs. chaos, where neither is in the right or wrong, one’s morality compass spins in all directions, and the only thing the main characters can do through most of the game is survive and try to carry on with their mission. The driving beat, frantic pulse, and relentless lead gives the player the rush they need in this grim, gritty masterpiece of a game. It is hard to justify what makes this song so appropriate for the game outside of strongly advising one to play the game themselves, but if this song makes a person think of a battle for the party’s life, where every wrong move in a punishing battle system could have your party flat on its butt and possibly slaughtered in a world that really is relatively thankless for the actions you have been taking, then the song has done the situation justice.
(Video chosen because the actual song has sound effects from the game in the background)
This song was almost a no-brainer as soon as I started this list and was one of the first songs to be considered for the list. In a game where a young child captures creatures from the wild, trains them, makes them one’s friends, summon them to battle against other trainers, growing in friendship, and growing in experience, eight particular adversaries stand in the way of reaching the very top (nine if one counts the fact this song also plays when going against Elite Four Lance). The gym leaders in the Pokemon games traditionally are trainers who specialize in a particular type and are much stronger than the average trainer, serving as the player’s boss battles in this revolutionary RPG.
The music itself constantly pushes forward with a constant stream of eighth notes, usually in the bass, and a frantic run in the middle voices, while the melody almost sings on top of all this chaos with long notes that complement the chaos under it quite fittingly. The moments in the song where everything just stops and only the lead is playing provides a stark contrast to the rest of the piece. Overall, a very solid boss battle song.
#3: The Fierce Battle: Final Fantasy VI (Final Fantasy III on the SNES)
This song is the oftentimes overshadowed other boss theme in a game with an already beloved and well-known boss theme in The Decisive Battle. However, and I may be of the minority, I find this song to actually be superior of the two amazing boss themes. This song plays late in the game when the player is facing some of the last bosses of the game. At this point, everything lays in chaos and destruction and your ragtag party of heroes have worked so hard to stand as the last bastian of defense against the psychopathic antagonist’s grand scheme.
This song’s rather frantic introduction and chromatic movements quite accurately and precisely manage to reflect that ideal. With the flutes playing the lead in the next part of the song bridging the intro into the actual song, one can almost feel the emptiness of the world weighing in on your mind. With the actual melody going on afterward, one can feel almost the frentic battle high in the sky over the ruined world. The next line with the trumpets does an interesting development of the initial melody by offering a more optimistic outlook of the battle, but this is quickly quashed by the reprise of the song’s introduction, restarting the loop.
#2: Magus Confronted: Chrono Trigger
With a rich storyline, an awesome cast of unique characters, and a new spin on the Active Time Battle system with dual techs and watching character placements on the map, Chrono Trigger is, by far, one of the greatest JRPGs to have ever been created. What stands out most about this track is that you do battle with Magus, an evil sorceror that you have been chasing for a while, in a dimly lit hallway with only torches to light your way. For most of the game up until this point, the story has been pushing for him to be the antagonist that you have to absolutely take down, so this song fits perfectly as something akin to a final boss theme. From the slow build of the introduction, the relentless drive of the rest of the piece, and the percussion break that fits seamlessly in,
#1: Wicked Flight: Bravely Default
Bravely Default, personally, has set a new standard of expectation of what is the bar of expectation for great video games. A video game is a combination of the skill of a writer for engaging the mind, the skill of the artists for engaging the eye, and the skill of the composers for engaging the ear working together in perfect harmony with each other to deliver an immersive artistic experience for the player.
Wicked Flight is the song that plays for the penultimate battle of the game and is as satisfying as it is epic. In a series of plot twists and turns, the player eventually comes to terms with engaging and battling this game’s antagonist. One can easily relish this moment of a truly difficult boss battle with the idea of finally taking this person down for good. After having fought them in two battles before and, if one takes the wrong route in relation to the crystals, is the final boss of the “bad ending”, this battle will be the most satisfying victory once overcome.
Honestly, everything about this song screams “final boss”. In fact, the character themselves scream “final boss” to me, but that is an opinion article for another time. From the introduction, which introduces a fanfare, to the main theme itself, the song is heavily appropriate for not only the situation at hand and the severity of the plot at the moment, this song is very appropriate for the character themselves. It has the feeling of unease and discord, yet has a feeling of uplifting flight (hence the title of the song).
Overall, while this list may always change in my head, it is hard to justify putting any boss theme above Wicked Flight. It is simply the right song written the right way for the right occasion in a masterpiece called Bravely Default.
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