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    • OddRocker`s Top 10 Greatest Video Game Soundtracks of All-Time

      4 years ago

      OddRocker

      Music has got to be one of the most overlooked components within video games. They have the power to trigger emotions, generate feelings of nostalgia and enhance gameplay. In order to properly honor the developers who have made the effort to incorporate quality music within their games, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten best video game soundtracks. We hope that this list will give you a new appreciation for the brilliant composers and musicians who have worked hard to enhance our gaming experiences.

      10. Beyond Good and Evil

      Michel Ancel's 2003 gem may feature questionable make-up application (we get it, your name is Jade), but there's no question about it having of the most varied and reaching soundtracks in any medium. Eastern/techno/aborigine/rap/David Lee Roth on mechacrack is about 1/10th of the way to adequately describing it. Just do yourself a favor and legally download it for free (thanks, Ubi!). If Beyond Good and Evil 2 makes it out the door, we'll be treated to another soundtrack composed by Héral. If it's cancelled, I'll be too busy eating an entire Carvel ice cream cake by myself.

       

      9. Jade Empire

      Traditional Japanese and regal orchestral music set the mood for this epic BioWare action-RPG (I suppose saying epic BioWare action-RPG is triply redundant). If you enjoyed Dragon Age: Origins or Mass Effect, go pick up this game. I'm sure there's a Hollywood Video liquidating near you that would be happy to give you an old rental copy for a few bucks.

      8. Blazblue: Calamity Trigger

      When Blazblue was announced many fighting game fans held their breath with anticipation. Would the spiritual successor of Guilty Gear come to disappoint us or give us the game we’d been waiting so long for. I think its safe to say that three iterations later, Blazblue has secured itself as the best thing to Guilty Gear itself. But besides the eclectic characters and stupid fast gameplay, one of things most noted from Guilty Gear was the music itself. Not only did Daisuke Ishiwatari create the characters, voice the main character but he also composed the entire score AND did the guitar work himself. The intricate and amazing guitar riffs from Guilty Gear are only amplified in awesomeness in Blazblue. The hard hitting rock/metal sounds of the soundtrack can’t help but get you pumped up for battle. Every character has their own theme song which once you’ve learned them are immediately recognizable. Even specific matches between characters that are story relevant have special theme songs. The obvious passion Daisuke has for the music of Blazblue can almost be felt in every track. Each characters theme fits their persona perfectly, from Rachel’s elegant organ work, to the crazy twang of bass guitar in Tager’s to Taokaka’s comical mix of piano and flute. Each track has the feeling of individual love and care. And the guitar work is just so good, so so good. The soundtrack for Blazblue in my opinion goes down as the best fighting soundtrack ever (sorry Tekken fans)

      7. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest

      Fresh off the success of Donkey Kong Country, Rare designed a more dark and expansive sequel — Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest. David Wise returned to score the title, this time entirely alone, and was also responsible for all the sound design and programming. He used the soundtrack as an opportunity to experiment and explored all sorts of different styles and influences for the game. The resultant work is not only his finest game score to date, but also one of the most compositionally and technologically accomplished examples of game audio on the Super Nintendo. The score was released in similarly comprehensive albums in both the United States and Japan.

      6. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game

      Thanks to Game Boy-wielding 8bit rockers Anamanaguchi, the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network side scrolling beat ‘em up couldn't have received a better soundtrack. It’s so good that I was disappointed when I found out the film itself didn't share the same soundtrack. If you missed the game then there’s no need to miss out on this OST as well, especially when you can stream it by clicking on the link below.

      5. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

      Deus Ex: Human Revolution was one of my favorite games of last year and a shining example of how to bring a franchise back with dignity and grace. It brought back everything that made the original Deus Ex’s memorable and shined it to 2011 perfection. I gladly explored every nook and cranny of the three cities you visit and a smile never left my face. However the thing I remember most was how good the music was. The opening credits is what did it for me. The slow and haunting electronic tune that played while Adam was being ripped apart was almost intoxicating. I was sucked in with the scene as I watched him scream in agony as his body was merged with machine in an effort to save his life. The music helped bestow this tragic scene as Adam’s mind flashed to his lost girlfriend and their tender moments together as he was sawed and stitched together into a cyborg. I don’t know how others felt during the scene but I was truly sold on the story and character at that point. And while the high quality CG helped paint the picture it was the music that really sealed it for me. After the scene played I quietly prayed to myself that the rest of the soundtrack was of the same quality and I was not disappointed. While none of the tracks struck me as hard as the opening credits every piece of music helped paint the picture of the futuristic world of Human Revolution. The music in many ways reminded me of the classic movie Tron, really the whole tone of the game was akin to it. In a move similar to Assassins Creed, Human Revolution creates a style unto the franchise itself, and gives a sense of setting, locale and even time. The music felt futuristic but also hopeless. As you walk around cities like New Detroit City it felt like their was no hope, as if humankind had given into to the trappings of cybernetics. While I know the philosophy of the game is far outside the purview of this article, I have to comment that the soundtrack itself feels like a message. It takes a tremendous soundtrack to elicit a feeling like a message and Deus Ex: Human Revolution does that.

      4. Guitar Hero

      Cluck your tongue if you must, but do you remember how amazing this was at the time? Before the franchise got Kotick'd, it was a groundbreaking game that made rock and roll god dreams a quasi-reality. Meant for a plastic peripheral that was ridiculed by befuddled dormmates before everyone realized how awesome it is, this soundtrack was a magical primer in the dark rock arts: Ozzy, Cream, Pantera, Hendrix, Bowie, Judas Priest, Stevie Ray Vaughn...we're not worthy.

      3. Mass Effect

      A proper space opera needs a proper space soundtrack. As is often the case in the world of video game soundtracks, Jack Wall (who also composed the Jade Empire soundtrack) is the right man for the job. This music conveys the loneliness and darkness of space, at times almost sucking the oxygen from the room, then turns around and inspires our sense of dominance and mastery as the one true commander of the Normandy.

      2. Chrono Cross

      To compliment the parallel worlds depicted in 'Chrono Cross,' composer Yasunori Mitsuda (who previously worked on the prequel 'Chrono Trigger') created alternately dark and bright tracks. The theme of the score was centered around old world cultural influences, such as Celtic, Mediterranean and percussive African music. 

      1. Shadow of the Colossus

      This soundtrack is present even when it cannot be heard. The music, which plays during the epic battles with the Colossi, is made more powerful by the virtual silence players experience while traveling across the barren landscape. After being isolated visually and aurally, the appearance of each behemoth is made even more epic as the orchestra swells. And yet, somehow, we are more alone than ever. For the use of the soundtrack in the game as well as the music's ability to stand on its own, we pay respect to composer Ko Otani and the Shadow of the Colossus original soundtrack.

      The moving orchestral score by Kow Otani was only used during the battles with each colossus and during cut scenes. The rest of the game used no music while the protagonist traveled the vast landscape searching for the next colossi. In 2005, Electronic Gaming Monthly awarded the game's soundtrack album, titled 'Shadow of the Colossus: Roar of the Earth,' as soundtrack of the year.

      Honorable Mention

      OddRocker Loves You

       

    • Top 10 "...?!" Moments in Video Games

      4 years ago

      OddRocker

      10: Link is no Longer a Boy

      Remember all of the controversy that surrounded Grand Theft Auto when it was realized by the mainstream media that you can heal your character by having a “date” with a prostitute. Well GTA is not the forefather of this in-game even as Nintendo had a similar mechanic in The Legend of Zelda II: The adventure of Link. In every town you can find a horde of red clad women who are more than happy to let you stay in their house and “rest” for a little while. Anyone who has any smarts whatsoever can see that her proposition is only a cover.

      9: Date with Paz

      Protagonist Big Boss is 39 years old during the events of Peace Walker. After a certain point in the game, players have the ability to have him go on a "date" with the alleged 16 year old Paz Ortega Andrade. One of the possible outcomes of the date ends with the two of them making out in a cardboard box. Good thing that the game's fiction takes place in the 1974, or the fate of Big Boss would have much different.

      8: Mommy Issues

      House of the Dead Overkill has to have one of the weirdest endings in a game yet. Basically after Isaac and Agent G fight a balls to the wall battle with a mutant zombie queen, she lay dead with her legs spread open for all to see. The somewhat creepy Warden Clement Darling, the man who started the whole mess, comes up and announces that for him to atone for his sins, he must “return to the womb”. Agent G and Isaac, then have to witness an unsettling rendition of reverse birth that cannot be unseen.

      7: Simply Playing Stretch Panic

      Once in a while a game comes around that is so eccentric and bizarre that you can only assume it would stay in Japan, the land of vending machine panties and cubicle hotels. A few games such as Katamari Damacy come over here and become a hit, but others come over here and are still too weird. Take Stretch Panic, a game where you play as a girl named Linda trying to rid your sisters of the curse of vanity. You are aided in this by a mysterious demon scarf that whips around and can snap and stretch objects. This may sound like a good game for people that idolize Paris Hilton to play until you see items such as the following:

      6: Hot Tub Party

      Cloud was always put in situations where his manhood came under question in the Final Fantasy series. Personally I believe that to be the reason for his over-compensation in weaponry as seen in the game; I mean does he really need a sword that big? Anyway, I would like to start the list off from an event that takes place right at the extreme beginning of Final Fantasy 7, while still in Midgar. At one point in the game cloud not only has to dress in drag in order to sneak into a brothel, but he presumably gets sexually assaulted by a large hairy body builder named Mukki. This scene either happens while Cloud is unconscious or in a hot tub, both are creepy. To see the scene in question look no further:

      5: Wait...She Has a What?

      The creators of the Guilty Gear franchise must love to mess with their fans, especially by making fans question their sexual orientation. Thus is the exact reason for a character named Bridget in the Guilty Gear franchise. As evidenced by the picture above, Bridget appears to be a “moe” style cute anime character. Dressed in the provocative nun costume Bridget is suddenly a creepy sex object. But Bridget has a surprise, she is a he. He was born in a village where twins were seen as bad luck, so he was put up for adoption and raised as a little girl for some reason. After that he was made into a bounty hunter and yadda yadda yadda the game has a weird story. Publicity photos of Bridget always show him/her as a sex object further making gamers question themselves.

      4: The Best Way to Relieve Stress 

      Ring King is an infamous arcade-style boxing game that won notoriety because of the poor animation of the NES console. The NES/Famicom version of Ring King/Family Boxing shows a scene with the corner men seemingly performing fellatio on the boxer between rounds. The pictures speak for themselves:

      3: Oh, you brute

      There really aren’t enough strong gay characters in gaming that don’t resort in some sort of campy stereotype. Take Ash from Streets of Rage 3 for instance, the guy never stood a chance. The man, who was a hidden character in the Japanese version, is dressed for success at a leather bar. He wears tight pants, a golden necklace depicting the female symbol, a leather vest and cap, and black high-heeled leather boots. He even cries when hit. You can definitely see why he was cut from the U.S. version. See what the big deal is:

      2: Cho Aniki 

      Many have heard of this totally insane series on various magazines and TV shows, and many have also played it as the first game is available on virtual console as we speak, so it is quite infamous. The games story is as follows: Bo Emperor Bill, the man who achieved ten consecutive victories in the Great Galaxy Bodybuilding contest, faces an ever decreasing supply of protein. He unilaterally invades neighboring star systems, in order to establish protein factories to replenish his supply. Feeling threatened, the heaven realm sent Idaten and Benten to vanquish Bo Emperor Bill. With that said, be prepared to fight all manner of crazy garish imagery as the scrolling shooter (ala Gradius) game progresses. Just make sure nobody comes over as you are playing the game, as the level of camp can be deadly.

      1: ... What?

      www.youtube.com/watch

      ...?!

       

    • Top 15 Great Games That You Never Have Heard of

      4 years ago

      OddRocker

       These are the great games that for one reason or another, never made it to household name status. Maybe they didn't have a big enough advertising budget. Or they came out for a console that not enough people had. Or they were overshadowed by a more hyped game. Or they were really pop**ar for a short while but have been forgotten by all but the most hardcore gamer of their genre. Whatever the reason, they never got famous even though they deserved to. Feel free to add your own favorite unsung games here. The more obscure the better.

      15. Disciples: Sacred Lands (PC- Turn-Based Strategy)

      14. Giants: Citizen Kabuto (PC, PS2 - TPS/RTS

      13. Clash at Demonhead (NES -  Platformer)

      12.  Sanitarium (PC - Adventure)

      11.  Jeanne d'Arc (PSP - Tactical RPG)

      10. Deadly Premonition ( 360, PS3 - Survival horror)

      9. The Neverhood (PC  - adventure)

      8. Half-Minute Hero (PSP -  real-time strategy/action RPG/shoot 'em up)

      7. Shadowrun (Sega Genesis - RPG)

      6. Crimson Gem Saga/Astonishia Story 2 (PSP - RPG) 

      Any of the Ys Games (Almost Every Console - Action RPG)

      4. Divine Divinity (PC - RPG)

      In a genre dominated by World of Warcraft, it's easy for other RPG efforts to go unnoticed. Divine Divinity was just that, offering up plain ol' fun hack-and-slash RPG action that wasn't meant to blow you away with anything too novel. You were one of six nondescript character types, you could level up according to your fighting experience within the game, and you're thrust into a story about the aftermath of a great cataclysmic war that threatens to break out once more. The game eventually did get a sequel in Divinity II: Ego Draconis, but neither that nor this game garnered much attention. Shame.

      3. EVO – The Search for Eden (SNES - side-scrolling action role-playing)

      This game is more action than it is RPG. The only things that really ties to the RPG genre are the stats that govern some of your character’s attributes, the fact numbers pop up when you hurt things, and you can get the game’s equivalent to experience when you defeat something (or really, when you eat its meat). However, there is no leveling up. Instead, what you do with your “experience”, or really evolution points, is evolve certain aspects of your character’s body. For example, making yourself bigger typically increases your health and defense, whereas evolving your jaws gives your bite more power. Additionally, any evolution you make affects you visually as well. Watch as those puny starter jaws turn into a mouth full of wicked sharp teeth. 

      As you play through the game, you go through different eras of evolution, starting in the age of fish and eventually ending in the age of mammals, where you’ll have the chance to evolve into a primitive human if you so choose. While the game is old and fairly short, it offers large replayability by giving you different options along the way.

      2. Psychonauts  (PC, PS2, XBOX, MAC - platformer)

      If you weren't adventure-minded, the best thing games like Maniac Mansion and Day Of The Tentacle had to offer was their sense of humour. They may well have been the funniest games around, but for those poor individuals who didn't suffer from object-combining Asperger's, it was a laborious process getting to the jokes.   

      Psychonauts drops you straight into the most visually-inventive 3D platformer I've ever played, and combines a really strong script with fantastic acting and solid - if occasionally erratic - gameplay. You play Raz, a psychic who's being trained in the art of going into people's minds and sorting out their emotional problems, and it never once veers into the obvious territory that must have been sorely tempting. I'd have killed my father if Double Fine had referenced Freud. The fact this game didn't sell a million is heartbreaking.

      n the lungfish level, you enter the mind of a defeated boss - a brainwashed mutant lungfish - to see why he's turned hostile. Suddenly, you're the star in a B-movie where you're the monster in a town of tiny lungfish, and the villain (who's brainwashed the fish) is the hero. Utterly beyond excellent.

      1. Terranigma (SNES - Action RPG

      Terranigma is an action RPG released on the Super Nintendo only in Japan and European countries. It is an extremely rare and well crafted adventure.

      Terranigma is full of mystery. From the initial desolate world, to the haunting music, the game hooks the player in promising an intriguing tale. The game seems simple at first, but quickly opens up to become an epic and addictive experience that keeps evolving the further it goes.

      The plot is well paced and the visual changes to the environments, after their restoration is both beautiful and rewarding. It feels like the world is alive and every quest is bringing you a step closer to accomplishing your goal of rebuilding the world. The story of the game is both engaging and thought provoking and Ark has enough personality to carry the narrative and keep the player constantly interested.

      While Quintet's previous titles feel tied to their system and year, Terranigma's grandiose adventure begs for a modern reimagining. The game's ending credits sequence pulled the heart strings -- I'll admit I got a little something in my eye, not because of the ending, but because of just how damn amazing Quintet was at that exact moment. I have never played a game that merged a fantasy world so well with our own history, and did it not as a gimmick, but as a way to tell a very impactful environmental message. It's a rare game that doesn't pat the player on the back, but instead conveys a message about how terrible the world is, and maybe even offers a way to make it a bit better.

      Terranigma is a rare treasure that should not be missed. If you wish to play one the best classic action RPGs of all time, then you should play Terranigma.

       

      Looking back on this list, the first thing that comes to mind is “That blog is way too long!” The second is that I need to make this disclaimer. You might not agree entirely with this list and likely think I left off something that deserves to be on. However, I only included games I have PLAYED, minus entries from series already mentioned here (for those I just picked my personal favorite). I’m sure your games would be well-deserving of this list. But if I haven’t played them, I can’t make the judgement call, sadly.

    • OddRocker`s Top 10 Favorite Games of 2011

      5 years ago

      OddRocker

      Its a personal list i am not a reviewer or a critic so this is not necessary the best games of the year just the games i have the most fun with

      10. Mortal Kombat (PS3)

      mortal Kombat

      9. Rayman Origins (PS3)

      8. Zelda Skyward Sword (WII)

      7. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3)

      6. Batman: Arkham City (PS3)

      5. LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3)


      4. Portal 2 (PC)

      3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PC)

      2. Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC)

      phenomenal just phenomenal. Amazing Story, amazing setting, amazing gameplay it's just an amazing game go play it right now

      The world Eidos Montreal has created is part Matrix, part Blade Runner and part Neuromancer. It's a dystopian future where the way the world ends is not with a meteor or nuclear war, but with the endless pursuit of mankind to improve itself.

      The focus of the game is augmentations, mechanical enhancements to the body which provide basic services like restoring lost limbs to the injured, but also serve to weaponize the human frame into something terrifying.

      The game combines elements of first person shooter gameplay, stealth mechanics a-la Metal gear Solid or Splinter Cell, and a touch of free roaming exploration, even if its world is relatively small compared to say, Skyrim.

      Playing through using both ****, I found myself experiencing two entirely different games, both equally fun. Stealth made Deus Ex something of a puzzle, and allowed to utilize the expertly designed levels that allowed you to make your way through a guarded room in many different ways. There was combat sure, but little of it, and the main focus was remaining as unseen as you possibly could manage. It's even possible to make it through the entire game without killing a single soul, and there's an achievement for doing so. How many modern shooters can you say that about?

      ___________________________________________________

      1. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (PC)

      As the year now draws to a close, I'm forced (through the use of whips and canes) to choose my Game of the Year. After much thought and the sacrifice of two hens to the gods of decision-making, I can think of no better game to receive my nomination than The Witcher 2. Of all the factors that went into making The Witcher 2 my favourite game this year, no other factor contributed as much as the storytelling. In telling the continuing story of Geralt the Witcher, CDPR succeeded in a way that I have yet to see matched. The game has all the themes you could ask for, from a mysterious back-story to political, racial and magical intrigue. Even if The Witcher 2 is your first foray into The Continent, you're sure to find something to grab your attention.

      The story is a mature tale that boils down to the trials and tribulations of one man and his struggle to hold true to his code in a world that forces him to break it. There's no simplistic relationship quests here and Geralt isn't going to save the world anytime soon. It's a credit to CDPR that they have managed to create such a believable universe without detracting from it through the use of tired tropes. While they've managed this with seeming ease, other RPG developers still find themselves struggling to leave the Good vs Evil and Saviour of the World cliches behind. On that merit alone, I feel The Witcher 2 deserves consideration for Game of the Year.

      Not stopping there however, CDPR have ensured that after your first playthrough of the game, you'll want to jump right back in and play the alternative path you're faced with at the end of the first act, and trust me, you will want to; because the story is just so damn gripping right until the end…well, right until right before the end, technically, but let's not get bogged down in the details. This bifurcation also has the benefit of allowing greater insight into the different characters, revealing motives and misdeeds you wouldn't have heard about had you chosen the opposite path. This doesn't take away from the experience of a single playthrough, however, as either divergence is of equal quality.

      In The Witcher 2, you will still be playing as Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher from the original game. The Witcher 2, however, shows gorgeous graphics, thanks to the new engine built by the team. If your rig can handle it, you'll see one of the most beautiful RPG games ever made so far on the PC! I manage to get a High setting (recommended by the game) on my NVIDIA GTX460 but after a bit of tweaking, I can get the Ultra setting (minus a feature called Ubersampling that I had to turn off) on the 1680×1050 resolution.

      You will be going through multiple locations with different settings and they all look terrific! The Witcher 2 probably has the best looking forest that I've ever seen and battlefield settings are really believe-able (such as the one in the Prologue and later on during the game). From the art book that I've downloaded and read, the team has definitely done a tremendous research and design on almost everything in The Witcher 2 – the siege engines, the textures of certain buildings, and all the little details that I would probably not notice in the game!

      CDPR have released a mega patch that did a great amount to improve the game for newcomers and veterans alike, making it simpler to get to grips with the oft-difficult combat while also providing a punishing permadeath nightmare mode for those that have the combat down pat. So, whether you found yourself flummoxed by the combat or can pirouette and pierce with your eyes closed, there's still a reason to go back and check the game out again.

      Finally, one other factor which I couldn't ignore when choosing The Witcher 2 for GOTY was its value for money. It has to be one of the best standard packages ever released, plus with all the DLC absolutely free, and SecuROM now removed, you'd be a fool not to grab yourself a copy.
      Only time will tell whether the Xbox 360 version of the game lives up to its bigger brother but for now, I can confidently say that The Witcher 2 is my Game of The Year.


       

      So leave a comment below what are your favorite games of the year. Did i miss a phenomenal game or am i one of the cool kids? Have you played any of those game what is your opinion on them? Or you can leave a comment about how beautiful my eyes are you know whatever you like


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