Square Enix has expanded the Final Fantasy series into various media. Multiple anime and computer-generated imagery (CGI) films have been produced that are based either on individual Final Fantasy games or on the series as a whole. The first was an original video animation (OVA), Final Fantasy: Legend of the Crystals, a sequel to Final Fantasy V. The story was set in the same world as the game, although 200 years in the future. It was released as four 30-minute episodes, first in Japan in 1994 and later in the United States by Urban Vision in 1998. In 2001, Square Pictures released its first feature film, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. The film is set on a future Earth invaded by alien life forms. The Spirits Within was the first animated feature to seriously attempt to portray photorealistic CGI humans, but was considered a box office bomb and garnered mixed reviews.
Websites such as IGN, GameSpot, GamesRadar, and 1UP.com retrospectively held Mega Man X as a successful milestone in transitioning the Mega Man series from its increasingly stale existence on the NES to the SNES. Brett Elston of GamesRadar stated, "X was a total reinvention of the series, a perfectly executed update that had fans anticipating its release with a fervor the franchise hadn't seen since the Mega Man 2 and 3 days."
Ah ha ha, now this is funny. Apparently Mega Man X Legacy Collection is going to revert the Mega Man X5 Maverick names back to the ones used in the original game’s manual rather than the Guns N’ Roses names. But actually, if the preview videos are any guide, they’re taking it one step further and they’re actually translating the stray Japanese words into English equivalents like I did on the Game Hints page. For example, Spiral Pegacion officially becomes Spiral Pegasus (which is what he should have been named all along—in my humble opinion). I don’t yet have a list of all eight names but I’m sure that will be forthcoming because we’re getting really close to release day.
Mega Man Battle Network, a series primarily on the Game Boy Advance, began in 2001 as a way for the Mega Man games to branch out into the role-playing video game market and to celebrate MegaMan's 15th anniversary. This series features a Net Navi called MegaMan.EXE. Net Navis act as virtual assistants to Operators, such as the protagonist Lan, an elementary school student and future hero who uses his Net Navi to help battle computer viruses and other Internet-based threats. The game combines elements from collectible card games to create a unique fast-paced battle system. An anime series, MegaMan NT Warrior, was also produced, ending with 209 episodes and a 50-minute film adaptation. Mega Man Network Transmission, the only entry in the series released on a home console rather than a handheld, takes place chronologically between the first two Battle Network games, although it was released between the third and fourth. It is also different from other games in the Battle Network universe in that its game play reminds strongly of the Classic series.
Just as a side note, while I was doing some online shopping for Christmas gifts, Amazon’s website decided to list for me a whole bunch of new Mega Man merchandise, some of which I hadn’t seen before. (Gee, I can’t imagine why it would do that.) I’ve briefly updated the Toys section accordingly, but man, there’s just no way to list everything. There was once a time when I could pretty much scan examples of and list every type of toy available, but now...I can barely scratch the surface. This is a good thing...except it does mean the Toys page will likely never again be complete.
Historically speaking, Mega Man games that moved away from the squat, pixelated, grimacing Mega Man art style have had mixed results. While I never fully warmed up to Mega Man 11’s cutesy, highly-detailed graphical style, the new look didn’t interfere with the classic feel of Mega Man as it did in Mega Man 7, a beautiful, but slow and clunky game. There are some fantastic robot designs, like massive skull-faced pillars that shoot lasers from their mouths, a wooly mammoth on a hoverboard, and an ostrich that’s on fire. These recall the art of early Mega Man games while filling out contemporary 16:9 wide screens (a series first!), dwarfing Mega Man. It’s a great effect to make me feel nimble as I’m sliding around with time at a standstill to avoid giant, crazed bots.
Mega Man is enjoying his day until Roll falls ill with Roboenza. At first, he believes that Wily is behind the epidemic, but Wily claims that he had found the cure, only to have it stolen by eight out-of-control Robot Masters. After defeating them all, Mega Man learns that Dr. Wily actually was behind the Roboenza epidemic all along. He succumbs to Roboenza himself, but Roll gives him her saved medicine to give him the strength to defeat Wily.
In the Mario Kart series, players compete in go-kart races, distributed among several single-player and multiplayer modes, and control one of a selection of major Mario franchise characters. Up to twelve (originally eight) characters can compete in each race. When the characters are ready to begin racing in the starting grid, Lakitu comes in with a traffic light hanging from a fishing pole, which starts the countdown; when the light turns green, the race officially begins. During the race, the player's viewpoint is from behind or in front of his or her kart. The goal of the game is to either finish a race ahead of other racers, who are controlled by the computer and other players, or complete a circuit in the fastest time.
Zelda Month has come and gone much too quickly. But for those who might’ve missed it, PeanutButterGamer (PBG) released his final video for the month just over a week ago. PGB, who started Zelda Month in 2011, puts a twist on his traditional videos with a Zelda product review. In the video, he takes some of the most interesting Zelda items from eBay and, in usual PBG spirit, reviews them with a kooky flair and comical hijinks. Give it a…