People, people, please! Let us not be too quick to love this crazy hardcore evil fox-beast Pokémon! Now’s not the time for respect! Now’s the time for WACKY. We must slap around this new monster until it realizes it looks kind of goofy and behaves accordingly! Just think how much better the new movie would be if Zoroark kicked off its evil plan by going do-mi-doing in his do-mi-do duds. Think how great it would be if the show had an evil fox with a silly voice. That’s a world I want to live in, and you know you want to live in it too. So read on and see how we should properly welcome this new Pokémon!…
So I’ve been getting back into Bemani lately. Sadly the local arcade shut down many moons ago, but there was a time when every weekend was EXPLOSIVELY POPULAR DDR BUST-A-DANCE WEEKEND. DDR, Dance Maniax, Guitar Freaks, Drummania, Beatmania IIDX… yeah, it had quite a few games in the series. I fell out of DDR a few years ago so I picked up the soundtracks to Supernova, Supernova 2, Festival, and STR!KE. I was happy to hear that they’ve now included The Irritable Great White Horse from Pop n’ Music 11 in DDR, under the name Tino’s White Horse. So, I tried out a new coloring technique with some fanart of Tino…
HOWDY KIDS!! As you know, I love great game remixes. And as I know, you love great game remixes as well. So let me take this moment to tell you about More Than Mario, a great album by Dale North and Mustin! It’s a collection of mixes of various Nintendo games, from Animal Crossing to Zelda to Nintendogs. Listen to the samples and you’ll see for yourself how awesome this is! And at only $8.99, it’s a great deal.
Buy it, urge your friends to buy it, and have them urge their friends to buy it. Let’s get together and support some of the greatest artists in the remixing community, shall we?
So I’m sure you all have heard by now that NBC is trying to mess with The Tonight Show’s timeslot. Conan may not be hosting the show much longer, and as a goof, he’s posted the show onto Craigslist.
What you may not know is, I’m making him an offer.
Hey Conan and Andy (and hey, why not Max and the band too?),
More after the break
I love Valve. I love Half-Life and Team Fortress and Portal and Left 4 Dead. And part of why I love them stems from how much I love their characters. Valve is known for making awesome, distinctive, interesting characters that are arguably alive. Whereas many other studios’ characters merely inhibit ice, nothing more.
… Wait, what was I talking about?
More after the break
MERRY OBLIGATORY ICE LEVEL DAY!! Did you get anything good? Were your friends and family happy to get gifts from you? Did you spread tons of cheer? GREAT! Today’s the final OILD post, so you know the stage has to be huge. It’s from a game widely considered to be one of the best of all time. That’s right! It’s Ice Land, from Super Mario Bros. 3!
YES! Ice Land! This isn’t just one stage. It’s a whole icy world! In fact, it’s the biggest world in Mario 3.
This was the first time I saw a game have icy blocks that could be melted. In this case, grabbing a Fire Flower and shooting fireballs at the blocks could clear a path or even thaw out some coins. Sometimes this would be helpful, but other times you needed to stand on those blocks. Needless to say, you slid around when walking on these. There were also throwable frozen blocks, which you could use against enemies. However, creatures called Buster Beetles could just as easily pick them up and lob them in your direction. Ice Land is also home to little monsters called Spikes, which are among my favorite Mario enemies. Spikes are little shelled creatures that could inexplicably spit out spiked spheres, hence the name.
Ice Land made good use of the slippery ice platforms. A few stages placed them high above bottomless pits, forcing you to get the hang of walking on them. One fortress is nothing but ice, so there was no avoiding it. Another level placed not only coins inside the ice, but invincible Muncher plant enemies. You may be shocked to hear this, but you don’t want to thaw them out and jump into their mouths.
This land has been taken over by my favorite Koopaling: the googly-eyed “Clown Prince of Koopas,” Lemmy Koopa. Having stolen Ice Land’s king’s magic wand and turned him into a seal, Lemmy flew off in his blue airship. The ship itself isn’t difficult to board, but the battle against Lemmy himself is a bit strange. He balances on top of a big rubber ball, and bounces other rubber balls around the room. You can bounce off of these if you want, but make sure to avoid the magical blasts from the stolen wand. After defeating Lemmy, you were able to use the wand to restore the king. I always thought the king’s real form looked kind of like a cat with a mustache, so I’m not sure why being a seal interfered with his ability to rule the country, but whatever. At least you get another step closer to defeating Bowser!
The final wallpaper! Raccoon Mario flies over Ice Land. Get the full version here!
And of course we have music! Ice Land’s map screen is very repetitive though. How about Snow Road, Cold Reception in Shiver City, Over Shiver Mountain, from Paper Mario? Oh I know! How about Silent Hill, from Dance Dance Revolution? Is that full of enough corny holiday cheer?
And you know I couldn’t forget a bonus remix! Especially one of the best bonus remixes ever. Super Mario’s Sleigh Ride by the OneUps is very much a holiday remix. It combines a few well-known winter tunes with some famous Mario music! The OneUps are a great group of folks! You should really buy some of their stuff on iTunes, Amazon, or Bandcamp. And hey, buying some downloads would make great surprise gifts for your gamer friends!
Don’t forget to visit the OILD page and download the soundtrack if you haven’t yet! Hey, might as well have these great tracks for next year, right?
Welp, that’s it from me. Thanks for joining me on this confusing and overwhelmingly nerdy journey through ice levels! It’s been great fun showing them to you. And thanks again for promoting, donating to, and watching The Speed Gamers’ marathon! I hope you stick around because 2010 is going to be even better. I want to thank TSG for putting on such a great marathon, Ally’s House for being such a noble charity, Nina Matsumoto (author of Yokaiden vol. 1 and vol. 2) for making those rad wallpapers, Posu Yan, Joshua Morse, and Select Start for making those wonderful remixes for the OILD soundtrack, my brother for playing Super Ghouls n’ Ghosts way too many times, MR. GREG for being the most awesome person in the history of anything ever, and everyone who helped along the way. YOU ROCK! MERRY OBLIGATORY ICE LEVEL DAY TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GREAT EXTRA STAGE!
Now get out of here and spend some time with your loved ones, you paragons of excellence, you!
Ah, Obligatory Ice Level Eve. Such a wonderful time of year. Surely tonight you’ll be dreaming of what awesome presents you’ll get tomorrow, right? Or even better, what awesome presents you’ll give tomorrow. Today I’m going to talk about an unusual stage. It’s Christmas NiGHTS!
Christmas NiGHTS, the stage that thinks it’s a game. Or is it a game that thinks it’s a stage? Either way, this is a pretty special little ice level. This was a special version of NiGHTS: Into Dreams… that was given away by certain game magazines.
In this stage, the Elliot and Claris (the two children from the main game) team up with NiGHTS and journey to the dreamland of Nightopia to find a star that normally sits upon their favorite Christmas tree. This stage is actually based on the “Spring Valley” stage from the main game, but now it’s been given a holiday makeover.
Unlike the full NiGHTS game, it was only one level, but it had many fun features. Specifically, it used the Sega Saturn’s clock and changed elements of the stage depending on the date. Normally the title screen says “NiGHTS: Limited Edition,” but in November and January, it changes to “Winter NiGHTS.” During this time, the green landscape becomes cold and snowy. In December, the game becomes “Christmas NiGHTS.” This is when the real fun begins, because the stage goes into full-blown holiday mode. Christmas trees decorate the stage, the Nightopian creatures dress as elves, and item boxes turn into presents! The music even takes on a holiday tone. NiGHTS himself also dresses for the occasion, replacing his usual purple outfit with a red and white one. From November to January, the weather will also change according to the hour. It’s such a weird, fun idea to have an action game change with the seasons like this. I wish more games did it!
Today’s wallpaper! NiGHTS and the Nightopians fly during the holidays. Get the full version here!
Oh but here’s more! Others have gotten into the OILD spirit! Check out this sweet Ninja Gaiden picture by Chuckmingus, and this cute Okami picture by Ninjaliz-chan! Thanks to both of you for posting these!
And some music for this nice Ice Level Eve! Christmas in Nightopia is really just a version of Jingle Bells, but it’s still cute, isn’t it? Gillwing’s Christmas Theme plays if you fight the boss Gillwing while the game’s in Christmas NiGHTS mode, and is a holiday version of the monster’s theme. Dreams, Dreams – A Cappella is a slow, sweet version of Dreams, Dreams, which is the main theme of the NiGHTS games. Dreams, Dreams ~Sweet Snow~ is actually from NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams, but it plays during a snowy scene and has a wintery sound to it.
And our remix for today: MerryLittleChristmas is a lovely remix of Dreams, Dreams, and it’s by Dale North. It really is a beautiful arrangement. Every year I play this and I usually get a few people asking where it’s from.
Well, tomorrow’s Obligatory Ice Level Day, and the final OILD post of the year. Hmm, I wonder what it will be? Anyway, hopefully you had fun with this silly fake holiday. I sure had fun sharing it with you! Thanks to The Speed Gamers for hosting this madness and for the awesome Pokemon marathon! Thanks to Posu Yan, Joshua Morse, and Select Start for making the wonderful OILD album! And thanks to YOU for supporting Ally’s House and making this marathon one of the best yet!
Just a couple of days away until Obligatory Ice Level Day! I’m excited. Hopefully you all get and give some great presents, especially if it’s just togetherness and cheer! And on that note, here’s a real special ice level. It’s the Ice Country, from Secret of Mana!
And hey, why not show off some of that ice magic in the screenshot too, right? Anyway, when the heroes enter the Ice Country, they run into none other than Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Rudolph tells them that a monster has kidnapped his master, and begs for them to help. After a lovely romp through the forest and many fights with wolf-like Howler monsters, the crew has to deal with Boreal Face, a plant-like boss. After that, they could find Salamando and learn fire-based magic, which is pretty useful in ice levels. After that it’s time to visit the Ice Palace. Lots of stepping on switches, lots of slimes to battle, and lots of Tonpoles and Biting Lizards to beat as a mid-boss. Be careful, or the enemies will “frosty” you, which turns you into a cute little snowman. Eventually a voice tells the heroes to leave, but naturally they refuse. The voice belongs to the Frost Gigas, which is the palace’s boss. Of course the Frost Gigas knows powerful ice magic, so prepare to see lots of those cute snowmen. Anyway, after he’s defeated, the monster turns into… Santa Claus. Yes, you spent the whole fight beating up Santa. He explains that he wanted a mana tree seed so he could grow a huge Christmas Tree, but the seed turned him into a gigas. Fortunately the spell was broken with a good old-fashioned beatdown.
WALLPAPER! Yet another attempt to mimic the in-game artwork. The full version is here!
And REMIXES! Ice Crystal Fields Forever is a very soft, ambient version of A Wish, and it’s by Zeratul. CryFromTheForest is a beautiful mix that combines A Wish and Spirit of the Night, and it’s by Kassie and Mustin. Dirge for the Frosty Plains is by mp, and it’s a very calm, soothing mix of A Wish. Desert Snowstorm is an energetic take on Eight Ringing Bells and Secret of the Arid Sands, and it’s by Ziwtra. Secret of Spram (8 Bells Mix) is a fun little mix of Eight Ringing Bells, by JAXX, Kassie, and Mustin.
And of course let’s not forget my favorite mix of A Wish and Eight Ringing Bells: THIS ONE, done by Select Start for the Obligatory Ice Level Day soundtrack. Remember, Select Start will be playing at MAGFest 8, so if you’re attending, please go see them perform!