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The Best Track in the Game #11: Tetris Attack

That's right, fresh from the wrapper, baby...

I know what you’re thinking:

“Wait, didn’t the Azn Badger say he was only gonna’ do The Best Track in the Game posts about games he owned?”

Well, as of yesterday, I am the proud owner of Tetris Attack, so fuck you.

Whoops! Think I pooped myself taking this one.

Tetris Attack is one of the better combat-puzzle games out there.

In fact, short of Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo, I’d say it was the best.

Yo Ken, best be packin' it up son, 'cause you bout'sta' take a Shinkuu Hadouken straight up in dah' face, man. Out dah' box, foh' real, yo.

Tetris Attack’s appeal lies in it’s overall simplicity, both from a gameplay, and an aesthetic standpoint.

Unlike a traditional Tetris game, where the objective is to line up horizontal rows of blocks across the playing field to destroy them and get points, the main objective in Tetris Attack is to match 3 or more blocks of the same color and shape in order to destroy them.

I feel it is worth pointing out that, the reason why Tetris Attack’s gameplay is so unlike any other Tetris game, is because it really isn’t a Tetris game at all.

Nor is this, but idiots around the world seem to like it, so oh well...

The original Japanese version of the game is an entry in the Puzzle League series of games called Panel De Pon.

Meh, could be worse.

For the American release, the generic anime inspired sprite designs and backgrounds were replaced with Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island elements, and the soundtrack was completely redone.

Other than that, the fundamental gameplay remains the same.

23 years Mega Man... You haven't changed your stripes in 23 fucking years. Lazy bum...

Seeing as Tetris Attack is a combat-puzzle game, a major part of the appeal of the gameplay is that, the player isn’t just required to solve puzzles, they’re also expected to do it faster and more efficiently than their opponent.

Destroying 4 or more blocks at a time causes extra blocks to fall on your opponent’s playing field, thusly piling their stack closer to defeat, while at the same time giving them more block with which to retaliate against you with.

... Or they can just get totally fucked.

It’s a wonderfully simple game that rarely allows for any one player to dominate the match.

More often than not, Tetris Attack matches between two human players take on a sort of tug o’ war dynamic wherein both players come close to losing several times, only to miraculously battle back and put their opponent on the ropes.

It’s these “come from behind” moments, and the giddy excitement that they elicit; that make Tetris Attack so great.

Can't talk about comebacks without talkin' bout Gatti!

Graphically speaking, Tetris Attack is minimalist, as most puzzle games are, but still impressive for the most part.

The game uses characters and settings from Yoshi’s Island, taking full advantage of that game’s vibrant color palette and irresistably cute design scheme.

IT'S ALWAYS A GOOD TIME FOR KITTENS.

While character animations are sparse, and most of the sprites drawn very small, nearly every animation is crisp and clean, resulting in a presentation that is limited, while managing to make the most of what little it has to offer.

While none of the selectable characters in the game offer any variations to the gameplay of Tetris Attack, some of my favorite characters in the game are Bumpty the Penguin (’cause he’s cute), Kemek (’cause he’s badass), and Blarg on account of the awesome “AAAAAARRRRRRGH!!!” noise he makes when you send blocks over to your opponent’s side.

Pictured: Half the Reason Tetris Attack Kicks Ass.

Yoshi can eat a Blackanese cock though.

Tetris Attack is one of those games that I could, and probably will; play forever.

It’s not a game I’m terribly nostalgic about, as I didn’t really play it until I was in high school, but it’s one of those rare games that is almost guaranteed to put a smile on my face whenever I think about playing it.

Anyway, enough of me sucking Tetris Attack’s cock, The Best Track in the Game is…

Yoshi’s Theme:


And…

Boss Stage Theme:

Why?:

I chose to name two Best Tracks in the Game out of respect for the aesthetic that Tetris Attack presents.

You see, Yoshi’s Theme, in my eyes, is the perfect musical representation of the feel that Tetris Attack has.

While the Boss Stage Theme is definitely my favorite track in the game, that by no means makes it The Best Track in the Game.

Yoshi’s Theme is serene and whimsical, akin to something you’d picture playing while skipping through a park or some shit, fitting perfectly with the mood and sound of the game.

I can’t say the track is my favorite in the game, however I also feel that I can’t regard it as a runner-up, as it really does deserve note as the “core” piece of music for the whole game.

The Boss Stage Theme also fits the game exceedingly, however it has a harshness and pounding tempo to it that make it suitable as boss music.

When listening to it, one is reminded that this is music meant to be played over a fast-paced puzzle game.

The Boss Stage Theme really does an amazing job of maintaining the pre-established “feel” to the music, while placing a premium on pressuring the player into feeling the tension as they race to out maneuver their opponent.

It’s by no means an outstanding piece of music in terms of all time time great tracks, however being as it is attached to one of the most outright “fun” games I’ve ever played, it will always stick with me regardless of it’s fidelity or quality of composition.


Filed under: Games, The Best Track in the Game, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Best Boss Music #2: Bust-A-Groove

Someday, I'll become that guy on the right. Fuckin' pimptastic...

I know what you’re thinking, “I thought Bust-A-Groove was a dance game?  How does it have boss theme, let alone a good one?”

Well, nearly every video game has a final challenge, or a final stage, and in Bust-A-Groove’s case, I count that as it’s boss music.

JAPANESE DENIM. MONEY STUFFED IN 'EM. COOLEST OF THE CARS AND THE BADDEST OF THE WOMEN.

Beginning in 1997, the GMD (Bemani) divsion of Konami began blitzing the arcades and home consoles with dance and rhythm games.

The first of these was Beatmania, which utilized a vertical scrolling, timing based button input mechanic to simulate a DJ-ing experience.

Don't ask me. All I did was Google "Beatmania" and this was what I got. Fuckin' pedo-Japanese...

In 1998, Konami followed up the success of Beatmania with the creation of the iconic, and wildly popular, Dance Dance Revolution.

Pictured: An Otaku/Narutard in it's natural state.

From this period on, Konami began cranking out dozens of expansions on their dance and rhythm gameplay concept which, effectively giving birth to a new genre, as well as making way for a host of imitators.

Bust-A-Groove is one these imitators.

...Also an imitation.

Developed by the wildly prolific Enix Co. and published by the now defunct 989 Studios, Bust-A-Groove (Bust-A-Move outside of the U.S.) was an interesting experiment in dance/rhythm game mechanics that was released on the Sony Playstation.

Not so much a pure imitator of Konami’s rhythm game formula, as it was an innovation of it, Bust-A-Groove combined the timed button input format of Beatmania, with the head-to-head style gameplay of a two-player puzzle or fighting game.

Chess Boxing: Not quite the same as Bust-A-Groove, but awesome nonetheless.

As if to point out to the player the similarities between Bust-A-Groove and fighting games, the developers were kind enough to include an attack command that each player could utilize to offset the rhythm and momentum of their opponent.

Every character in Bust-A-Groove was colorful and unique, each with a dance style and musical theme to call their own.

Standouts among the cast, both in terms of music and character, were Heat, a breakdancer,

Well, he looked cool in the game, anyway.

Hiro, the leisure suit wearing disco dancer from the cover,

Is it just me, or does this guy look like he's about to shank/rape someone HARDCORE.

and Capoeira, a duo of aliens that utilize a dance style that more closely resembles the Brazilian martial art than it does any traditional dance style.

Pictured: The typical result of the average white man's attempt at Capoeira.

It’s worth noting that a fair amount of censorship was involved in the U.S. release of Bust-A-Groove.

Differences include Hiro no longer perpetually smoking his cigar, (as his song ironically declares to be the norm for him) and the hip-hop dancer, Strike, having his bottle of hard liquor being replaced with a cola can.

Yeah, 'cause these are just about the same thing.

In addition to this, many of the songs in the game were translated and re-recorded from the original Japanese.

It’s funny, normally I’m a purist when it comes to “dubbing” or serious localization of media, but in Bust-A-Groove’s case, I honestly feel that the English revisions of some of the songs are in fact superior.

In example, I found Shorty’s English song to be infinitely better than the oh-so-pedo-it-can’t-be-legal-Japanese version.

Give ’em a listen:

Seriously, it sounds like the singer was 10, maybe 11 years old, and worse yet, had no aspirations to be a singer whatsoever.

...Not that that isn't typical in the music industry or anything.

That ugliness aside, let’s get to the “boss music” of Bust-A-Groove.

Bust-A-Groove’s final stage, it’s final boss, is a giant dancing robot named Robo-Z.

Pictured: Tetsujin 28 strikes a pose to ensure bowel regularity.

Robo-Z’s stage consists of a downtown cityscape, wherein your player character stands atop a skyscraper, while Robo-Z does some sort of trance/vogue dance while standing in a busy intersection.

Let be known that Bust-A-Groove is for HARDCORE dance fans only.

It’s pretty epic actually, the idea of someone dance battling a 50 foot robot in the middle of the city while cars careen down the road and slam into the robot’s feet.

As icing on this already surreal-as-fuck situation, Robo-Z’s theme song is an over-the-top, fast paced trance-techno song called “Flyin’ to Your Soul.”

Pretty cool, huh?

When my brother got this game for Christmas in 1998, I really sucked at it.

I’ve always had a good ear for music, but for some reason my fingers just couldn’t keep up with inputting the button commands on the fourth beat.

Nowadays I can play the game with my eyes shut, but back in the day, I usually couldn’t get past Kelly’s stage.

Okay, now there be two stripper bitches... This is not altogether a bad thing.

Kelly’s stage is usually stage 2.

I remember watching my brother beat the game again and again though, and every time, I’d make sure to be in the room for when he played Robo-Z’s stage.

Like I did with Sakura’s song, “I Want You to Know,” I used to listen to “Flyin’ to Your Soul” as much I possibly could from the sound test screen.

“Flyin’ to Your Soul” may not be the most intense, or archetypal boss theme around, but it’s catchy, and it’s just about as epic as music in a dance game can get, and for that reason, it’s ONE OF THE BEST BOSS TRACKS EVER.

Filed under: Best Boss Music, Games, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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