Kurayami Monogatari

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Akiko Shikata – Istoria ~Kalliope~ January 5, 2012

Filed under: Akiko Shikata — solarblade @ 10:19 pm

Track Listing

  1. Thrylos -Deshou-
  2. Istoria
  3. Pieris
  4. Kasasagi -Ta Ennea Pulia-
  5. Seiren -Heroes Argonautes-
  6. Kimi no Namae
  7. Hymen
  8. Eurydice -Monadikè Agape-
  9. Gekijou -Ades-
  10. Owari no Hate
  11. Hoshi no Akari
  12. Tetis
  13. Eiyuu Sou

1. Thrylos -Deshou-

I really loved the first song off the album from Akiko since it really gave off this Sahara kind of vibe mixed in with Akiko’s more broad vocals.  It’s a very loud song and pretty good for an intro so it’s just pretty much an epic way to kick things off.  Very worthy for her ^_^

2. Istoria

I love the fact that she continued to use the frantic and loud arrangement to kickstart the title track off the album before showing more of her folkish side to her music and Istoria is a pleasant song.  Kind of reminds me of Haruka Shimotsuki’s songs.  Great song to listen to actually!

3. Pieris

Moving from a dramatic tune, to cute, to something more atmospheric is a little strange for the flow of the album but Pieris is kind of quite something even though it might not be as strong of a song as the previous two songs to be honest.  Needed to be a little more faster to have left a stronger impact on me to be honest.

4. Kasasagi -Ta Ennea Pulia-

As the album’s longest track, Kasasagi kind of just pulls to be that usual Akiko-styled tune which is alright since it’s more of her unique style of singing plus a whole lot of strings and other knick-knacks to fill in the spaces of the tune.  It’s nice and the softer parts are kind of more memorable than all of the strings present to be honest.  Alright, but needs more, just like the last track.

5. Seiren -Heroes Argonautes-

At least Akiko has her epic track with Seiren.  While I loved the epicness in “Thrylos”, it didn’t match up to the more serious and hard driven Seiren which has such a dark and foreboding intro before all of sudden getting into this electro side of the song and everyone knows I love Akiko’s electro-based tunes.  Reminds me of “Resshi Kouki ~Raikoku no Tenshi~”.  Just like said song, it does kind of goes in between a slower and quieter side and the more edgy and danceable side…kind of two-faced but still a cool song!

6. Kimi no Namae

It’s kind of weird to see that we go from the best song on the album so far to the worst in one fall swoop.  Musically, it’s not that bad but kind of unmemorable but it’s forther down the drain when the entire time, Akiko is doing nothing but (roughly ad-libbing or maybe saying ONE word) the entire near 4 minute length of the song which is a big bother for me.  What’s the point of this song exactly?

7. Hymen

I instantly thought of Pirates of the Caribbean when I listened to this track.  Well until the woodwinds joined in but without them, it sounds like some kind of upbeat sea shanty and I love that.  The most interesting thing about the song is that Akiko is singing in a much deeper tone than normal which is pretty awesome and different for her.  Yeah, this song might be on top of the favorites.

8. Eurydice -Monadikè Agape-

Eurydice for me sounds pleasant and rather cute which is rare for me to enjoy one of Akiko’s cuter songs.  Though what caught me in is that its a pretty grandiose and fantasy-like kind of song so it’s a mixture of that plus her vocals that really caught my attention.  Pretty good song here.

9. Gekijou -Ades-

Getting into something a little more edgy is Gekijou which adds in electric guitar which we haven’t heard yet on the album.  I actually think the song is unusual even for Akiko because of how much is going on and how dark and gritty it comes when compared to most of the other songs.  There’s a lot of odd moments in the song from the additional synth beats and weird vocal manipulations (plus Akiko’s deep tones).  It’s abstract but really different and I liked this kind of experimentation from her.

10. Owari no Hate

Though I never would have expected Akiko to pull off such a “normal” sounding song like Owari no Hate.  It seems that Akiko is trying to sing normally like a regular ole J-pop/J-rock artist and while her vocals are kind of weak here, it gets boosted once backup vocals are added in.  Not sure what to really think about it since it’s such a unique kind of tune but it’s pretty good but not her best.

11. Hoshi no Akari

The weirdness just doesn’t really stop however it isn’t Akiko that’s odd here but it’s the fact that Hoshi no Akari is a 5 minute instrumental.  I mean the song is pretty and the movements between parts is really nice and all, but no Akiko is kind of making this song a bit too dry and kind of useless here.

12. Tetis

The closest thing to a ballad on here is from Tetis and I’m kind of unimpressed by this song since it kind of comes off as too boring and kind of takes a while to get the song to places it needs to be…and by then it still needs a little more to get across. 

13. Eiyuu Sou

The final track on the album starts off pleasantly with waves crashing before Akiko starts to sing.  Of course I love the building of the song and Akiko’s unique vocals pop up again and it really makes the album really end with a strong note like how it began.  Totally makes up for the odd stuff going on in the last few songs.

Tracks Recommended

  • Hymen
  • Seiren -Heroes Argonautes-
  • Istoria
  • Thrylos -Deshou-
  • Eurydice -Monadikè Agape-

Song of Avoidance

  • Kimi no Namae

As this is my first Akiko album reviewed, I must say Istoria ~Kalliope~ is quite impressive.  Despite that two of the songs were pretty much unneeded (though Hoshi no Akari could’ve been better if it wasn’t that long >.>).  The other songs show a lot of variety which is great for an album and she has the vocals to give it even more variety because she showed a lot of different vocal tones and styles as well.  What a good way to end of 2011 right?

 

Super Smash Bros.

Filed under: ~Video Game Reviews~ — solarblade @ 3:28 am

Overview

The Smash Bros. series is a toss-up between a 2D Fighter and a Party game which is seems to fit both priorities well.  Introduced on the N64, the original Smash Bros. was kind of a first in its kind taking the best faces in the Nintendo world at the time and pitting them together in an all-out punch-out! 

Story

Wait, SSB has a story?!?  Not really actually I mean if anything the intro to the game is the closest to anything story-wise.  Which is a magical hand (Master Hand) awakens these toy figurines and makes a makeshift stage out of it.  Of course that’s really not that exciting right? 

Characters

The primary cast in SSB is actually 8 well-known characters actually!  Of course seeing it’s Nintendo and HAL working together, both Mario and Kirby would be found here.  There’s also Fox, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Samus Aran, Pikachu, and Link as well which is a pretty good cast at first.  As you go through the game you gain 4 more in Jigglypuff, Ness, Captain Falcon, and Luigi.  I will say that I must give the directors and workers kudos on making original movesets for Fox and C. Falcon since they’re froms games where you only really see their faces most of the time.  12 characters is alright for the first game but it is rather tiny.

Stages

The original Smash is the only one in the series where there’s more characters than stages which isn’t surprising to be honest when there’s only 9 stages to choose from 8 of them are available right from the start and correlates to each character’s series.  Example Sector Z = Fox’s stage.  The secret characters don’t get their stage unfortunately and have to share with others.  The 9th stage (which is unlockable) is a take on the original Super Mario Bros. with pipes and POW blocks.  Wish there was a little more variety here as well but it’s alright for the most part.

Gameplay

The gameplay is actually quite unusual for a fighter that most people know about.  Smash Bros. is unique because you have to rack up damage instead of wittle down a health bar like most fighters do which is a new take.  So then how do you defeat your opponent?  The higher the damage, the farther they fly and the point is to knock them off the stage (mostly all four sides of the screen counts as wats to knock them off).  All characters are different from one another (minus Mario and Luigi) and they have the advantages and disadvantages.  The point is to use them to beat your opponent.  It’s an interesting idea and it worked since it’s one of Nintendo’s biggest tourney-based series.

Graphics/Sound

  • Graphics: For an N64 game, the graphics for SSB aren’t all that bad but at the same time as a gamer of today it really does look rather blocky on some aspects.  I mean Mario’s hands look like Cloud’s in FFVII which is a little bit of a bummer.  The stages are probably the best thing graphically about the game since they all have the spark and aspects of the games they come from quite nicely.  The worst IMO is how the Pokemon from the Pokeballs work…they look ridiculously terrible in the game, not gonna lie. 
  • Sound: The sound is alright as well.  Most of the music is pretty much new versions of classic tunes from each of the series.  There’s some original tunes as well but hearing Mario’s theme or Yoshi’s Athletic from Yoshi’s Story is more interesting.  Sound effects do their job as well and they sound like the punches and kicks hurt.

Other Things To Do

There’s not a whole lot of things to do in the game otherwise which is alright since the main reason the game is so popular is the multiplayer aspect which means you can have up to 4 players going at each other.  There are a couple things though worth noting

  • Single Player: Kind of like a normal arcade mode to a fighter, you fight different characters and the final fight is with a big boss or in this case against Master Hand.
  • Break the Targets / Board the Platforms: These are kind of like the minigames for the characters and each one has a different setup which is great and provides a bit of a challenge to beat the stage at a fast time.
  • The Vs: Like I said, this is where most people will love the game because of the fact there’s so many possibilities with part from teams, to choosing which items are allowed in the game…it’s pretty sweet and even though Melee and Brawl built upon this the root of it was a nice start!

The rest of the things that might be of interest is some of the options like reading the various stats on your gaming experience from how many KOs you had or who’s your most used character down to reading a little history about your character.  Of course there’s always the option to erase EVERYTHING in the game but unlike most games doing this can be fun since you can unlock everything once again lol.

 

 

OVERALL: 6/10

This is probably my least favorite of the three Smash games out there but it is the oldest and the first of the series so it had to start from someplace.  I mean the small amount of things to do is quite surprising for a “party game” and some fighting game afficionados will also say the same, it’s still quite a fun party game.  Plus it brought a powerful series that rivals many of Nintendo’s current series which is a little tough to do these days and back then it was either SM64, Ocarina of Time, MK64, or this.  Not bad but compared to the later games…there’s a CLEAR gap between this and Melee for sure.