Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Smash Bros Brawl Stages

Like I promised, I will show some of my self made Brawl stages here on this blog. Even better, you will be able to download and play them as well. I made about 20 stages by now, but I will only show you the best of them. At least for now, maybe I'm going to release some more later. Well, the stage builder is actually pretty limited, so don't expect anything on Unreal Editor level. When I started creating levels with Brawl's stage builder, I randomly placed some structures, I wanted to use, and built the rest of the level around it. Sounds lame, but some of the results were pretty good. An example for one of those maps is "Sector 23", you can see below. I also built a lot of smaller Battlefield type of stages, but while they are good, they are nothing special at all. However, I soon realized that the stages from the stage builder are not only lacking in visuals but in something else too. What's it, what makes a Smash Bros stage a real Smash Bros stage? Right, it has to be connected to a certain game or franchise, or else it doesn't feel like part of the whole SSB universe. That's why I concentrated on creating some stages, which are related to other games. Unreal Tournament, Metroid Prime Pinball and Tetris specifically.

  • Name: Sector 23
  • Comment: -
  • Size: Medium
  • Music: Sector 1
  • Download

This is one of my stages, which was created by random input, I've mentioned above. But it's actually pretty nice, there are a lot of ways to go and run. Music is Sector 1 from Metroid Fusion, which why I've named it "Sector 23". I picked the 23 because of obvious reasons.

  • Name: Deck 16
  • Comment: Unreal Tournament
  • Size: Medium
  • Music: Yell "Dead Cell"
  • Download

In Nintendo's first attempt of allowing the creation and sharing of user created content, of course the one game has to be honored, which was groundbreaking in this field and even brought custom content to video game systems: Unreal Tournament. You have to use your fantasy here, but this stage is meant to be the original Deck 16 in cross-section. The ramps are there and one of the structures is used for the small catwalk, where the Shield Belt was placed. Because there is no bio waste acid or other hazardous fluid availabe in the stage builder I used spikes on the ground level. Too bad it's not possible to use your own mp3 files or I would have used the original "Go Down" theme for the stage. Instead one the Metal Gear tracks is played, which comes close to the techno style music from UT.

*updated on January 14th, 2009* I got rid of unnecessary walls and the stage is now of medium size for better gameplay.

  • Name: Smash Pinball
  • Comment: -
  • Size: Medium
  • Music: Main Theme (Metroid)
  • Download

To be totally honest here, I saw this stage somewhere on YouTube and reconstructed it by myself. So, it's basically not my idea, but still a good stage though. The idea is simple, the stage is built like a pinball table. There are conveyors on the lower level, which lead to a pit, springs to push you up as well as ice and falling blocks on the upper level. Everything is always on the move in this stage, which makes pretty fun and intense gameplay. The music track is the guitar version of the Brinstar theme, which is played in Metroid Prime Pinball all the time. Plus the whole space station theme shows, that I had Metroid Pinball in mind, when I built this stage.

  • Name: Tetris Terror
  • Comment: -
  • Size: Medium
  • Music: Tetris Type B
  • Download

This idea is definitely the most obvious one. I mean, when you first start the stage builder and see all those square blocks, you first think about making either a Mario or a Tetris map. Nintendo even put remixed versions of the original Tetris music in the game, though there is no official Tetris stage, so the whole thing screams practically after one. And there are a lot of them out there. So, this is my version of this idea, plain-colored with a lot of falling blocks to fit the Tetris concept. Actually the falling blocks can be used as a nice strategy here, if you let them crumble in the right moment, they can push down or hinder your enemies. I had a lot of fun playing this stage with some buddies, but be prepared for a lot of suicides.

  • Name: Tetris Terror 2
  • Comment: -
  • Size: Medium
  • Music: Tetris Type A
  • Download

This is my newest stage, built it yesterday. And, as you have with no doubt surmised, it's again about Tetris. This time, it's multi-colored and more solid. Only the big square block is a falling one, the others are either ice or normal blocks. Again there's a ladder and some moving platforms to help you moving between the blocks.

To play the stages, simply download the files in the \private\wii\app\RSBP\st directory on your SD card. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Legend of Zelda: Brainstorming Adventures

So, after the disappointing event yesterday, I've calmed down and Miyamoto gave us some statements about some of the core franchises including Zelda. The good thing is, they actually want to take Zelda some steps further and want some big unique ideas for the next Zelda game on the Wii. The bad thing is, it seems like they don't have any yet. According to Miyamoto, it looks like they're still in their brainstorming phase and try to find those ideas, which will revolutionize the Zelda franchise. Though on the other hand creating a First Person Zelda would be a too drastic change for Miyamoto, which I don't understand, because in combination with their new WiiMotion Plus accessory a first person perspective would be the perfect choice for sword fighting and all other actions. And experiencing Zelda in a new perspective could be the fresh wind, the series needs so badly.

Also, if I understood the statement on IGN right, the smaller Zelda team responsible for Four Swords Adventures and Phantom Hourglass is working on their own new project, though some teammembers swapped places with the Wii Zelda team. That's pretty much good news for me, because I was hoping for a second NDS Zelda or maybe a WiiWare Zelda, which probably could be finished some time before the next Wii Zelda, maybe end of 2009.

Also, absolutely no news about Retro Studios and their newest project, if there's one. Disappointing.

Source: IGN News

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Retro Studios' next project

The Metroid Prime trilogy was fantastic, I just love all three of those games and I'm very curios about, what the next big project of Retro Studios will be. We've only got two big news since the release of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. One is that they're being said not to work on a Metroid title, the other one is, that some important employees left the company, but which should hopefully not effect their work on upcoming titles.

So, the only thing we know for sure is, that they're NOT working on a new Metroid. To sum up, there are two major rumors flying around, I find both of them very interesting. The first one came from a famous female blogger, who said, that they're working on a Zelda spin-off, whatever this means. If you've read my The Future of Zelda article here, you know, that maybe the next Wii Zelda is going to be in first person perspective. And who's the best in creating first person games for video game systems? Correct, Retro is. Their experience with the Metroid Prime series is just incomparable, so they would be the best for the job. Which is why I believe, that they eventually have worked on Zelda Wii at some point. But a spin-off title would mean something entirely different or something like the Zelda games made by Flagship(Capcom), not the next new main project.

The second big rumor concentrates on the guy, you can see on the left. After his infamous performance in Super Smash Bros Brawl Kid Icarus aka Pit is said to finally get his third installment on the Nintendo Wii. While the second game,Of Myth and Monsters for the GameBoy, was already created for the American market, it's not unlikely that an American developer will get the responsibility for the third game. Also Kid Icarus was originally the little brother of Metroid, made by the same developers. And considering what a good job Retro did with reviving the Metroid franchise, I mean all those details, the gameplay, the story, the atmosphere, the fanservice, everything was perfect, they definitely are the best to bring Kid Icarus back to life again. Plus think about it, Pit fights with a bow most of the time, so a first person shooter would be (again) the best format and Retro would be (again) the best for the job. According to Wikipedia, some rumors say, that Factor 5 is the one to work on the next Kid Icarus game, but with all their experience in space and flight simulations, shouldn't they better work on Starfox or something?

Again all I can say is, that we hopefully get all our questions answered next week on the E3. I can't wait.


Sources:
Surfer Girl Blog
Zentendo News

Monday, July 7, 2008

Let's flood Hyrule

Next week the infamous E3 happens to be in Los Angeles, and everyone is excited about what's coming next for Nintendo's big franchises, escpecially Zelda. Because most Zelda sites are like totally dead right now, which hopefully changes next week due to some new information, everyone gets excited about the biggest nonsense. A fake interview with Aonuma and artwork about a Zelda game named Valley of the Flood make the circuit, so overblown with stupid fanservice, that it hurts my head everytime I see someone writing, "this is not a fake, it has to be real". Read the interview in the link below and make your own mind. The fake artwork was made by WiiCast, who took the image from the novel Perdido Street Station.

Actually some of the ideas weren't too bad, especially the points about the story. "Project Deluge" is said to be placed between the adult ending of Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker. It covers the prologue of The Wind Waker, where Ganondorf is resurrected and everyone is waiting for the Hero of Time to return. The player now takes the role of a crazy guy, who actually believes, he is Link, but is not. So, no Mastersword or Triforce of Courage for him in his journey against Ganondorf. Of course everything ends up in a disaster and Hyrule being flooded, so you start to explore the flooded world. While this sounds like a cool story, the question is, how should it end? With everyone dead but Ganondorf? Sounds like a contrasty ending to Twilight Princess.

The big problem with this fake is, that Nintendo never really cares about the story, like they do in the interview. The first thing are the new gameplay elements, the story is always developed around them, not the other way around. For example, they want Link to turn into a wolf. A wolf alone looked boring, so they added something to ride on it. And this way Midna was born. You see? So, a Zelda developed around a "cool" story is never going to happen, as well as most of the other fanservice stuff.

And the one thing, I will never understand, is the voice acting problem. Why in all words does everyone and really everyone connect voice acting in Zelda with Link talking? It's even the problem, Nintendo uses for an excuse not to do voice acting in Zelda. Ever played Metroid Prime 3: Corruption? In this game, every single character got voice acted, but Samus. She doesn't speak a word and look, it works fine. I don't see a reason, why they shouldn't handle it the same way in Zelda. Link doesn't have to talk, but all the other characters do.

Back to Deluge, I really like the idea of using Steampunk elements in Zelda, especially the one about a railroad system in Hyrule. I love the picture of Link riding next to a train, defending it from Bulblin bandits, Wild West style. Talking about it, a Western Zelda including Steampunk elements sounds really promising. Iwata even talked about the idea of a Western Zelda, because he enjoyed the Hidden Village scenario in Twilight Princess quite much. So, I wouldn't be too suprised, if something like this will turn into reality, though without a FanFic as the main story.

So, just be patient until next week, I'm pretty confident that Nintendo will show us some of THEIR ideas, how the future of Zelda will look like, on the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Sources:
IGN Boards
WiiCast
Artwork used in the fake image