Well the dog days of summer are here and no matter where you may be reading this it’s probably pretty darn warm. To try and combat the threat of an overbearing sun we’ve compiled a list of the best icy levels in video games. By the time you’ve finished reading this you should have it in your head that you need to start a fire and throw on a parka. Nothing cools you down like images of frosty icicles and arctic breezes. So why not chill out and read the cool entries on this list. I have NO shame.
10 ) Scene 3 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game
Usually when games get ported from the arcade to a console, like the NES, a lot gets lost in translation. For TMNT II the four person co-op got lost but two new stages were added. The first was one kick ass ice level. With the Shredder freezing Central Park it’s up to the turtles to fight through and destroy the evil weather controlling machine. What really sets this stage apart is an enemy snowman. Underneath his cute exterior is a bouncing robot who fires rockets that take the shape of the snowman’s carrot nose. That’s right. While most ice levels have bears, penguins, or wolves as enemies this game features a bouncing robot snowman with carrot-nose rockets.
9 )Battle of Hoth – Star Wars Rogue Squadron
Is there any more famous ice realm in all of nerdom than the planet Hoth? The classic starfighter on the Nintendo 64 had an unlockable mission that put you right in the beginning of the Empire Strikes Back. Starting off scanning for probe droids you soon find yourself up against a horde of walkers. Weaving over the snowy canyons as you tie up the legs of the behemoths you’ll goal is just to buy time for the Rebels to escape. Being able to not only take place in one of the most iconic battles of Star Wars lore is one thing, but doing it across white capped mountains is quite another.
8 ) Assault on the Control Room – Halo
Not only was Halo’s Assault on the Control Room arguably the best level from Halo: Combat Evolved it also happens to take place in the snow covered regions of the first Halo ring encountered by humans. A true testament of how “cool” snow levels are in games Assault on the Control Room had it all. UNSC marines engaged in large scale warfare against the Covenant on a vast playing field. Every time we fire up Halo: CE on the old XBOX for some nostalgia this is the level we go straight to (and then The Maw).
7 ) Walrus Cove – Diddy Kong Racing
Ice levels are in no short supply in racing games but Walrus Cove always had a soft spot for me. Maybe it was the candy canes that adorn the starting gate or the fact that the music seems to have rings of “Here Comes Santa Claus.” Or maybe it was because the very beginning of the race track sent you on a giant spiral loop made of solid ice. Most kart racers would wait until the middle or end to show you the one big thrill, but not this one. You’re up and over before you even know what’s going on and it gets even more fun when the ice bridge you drive across later slides right through that same loop.
6 ) Snowpeak Ruins – The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess might go down in history as one of the best examples of level desing in a video game. All of the dungeons in that game are classic and the obligatory ice dungeon is no different. An unconventional Zelda dungeon the charming cabin is paralleled by frozen wastes filled with Freezards and White Wolfos. When other Zelda games may have given you fire to melt through ice barriers, this one says “No. You want to get through you’ve got to smash you’re way through.” There’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing something you need behind sheets of ice and bashing through with a giant wrecking ball.
5 ) Phendrana Drifts – Metroid Prime
The Metroid series has always been amazing at building atmospheric environments and Metroid Prime is no different. While exploring the lush world of Talon IV Samus Aran eventually finds herself in the harsh cold realm of the Phendrana Drifts. Frozen walls, ice floats in water, and chilling breezes surround the home of the Sheegoths and the titanic Thardus. Meta-Ridley makes a brief appearance over the Shorelines, foreshadowing the climactic boss fight late in the game, and the troublesome Space Pirates square off with Samus in a giant control tower. The isolated area from Metroid Prime definitely has its highlights.
4 ) Chill Man – Mega Man 10
When going up against the likes of Ice Man, Blizzard Man, and Frost Man, Mega Man has become quite comfortable in the ice level. Of all the levels the most recent was especially well done. The cracking ice cubes over Wily’s patented insta-kill spikes added tension and once the level started teasing you with powerups and tossing out enemies who would purposely destroy your footing it turned downright dubious. The song is one of the more memorable tracks from Mega Man 10 and the stage itself moves through various cold quarters, like a darkened cave and ice topped peaks with a dramatic snowstorm.
3 ) Ice Cap Zone – Sonic the Hedgehog 3
It may have taken platforming icon Sonic the Hedgehog three games to get to an ice world but it was worth the wait. Sonic’s first frosty foray included slippery surfaces but also a pretty memorable snowboarding section. Seeing Sonic rocket from point A to point B was nothing new but seeing him do it without running was something special. On top of all that you have one of the best songs in Sonic history playing in the background.
2 ) Snow Barrel Blast – Donkey Kong Country
The first snow stage in the Super Nintendo classic Donkey Kong Country starts off fairly standard. There are mountains to climb, enemies to avoid, we’ve all seen this before. It’s only after the level progresses that the true chiller comes out. Ever wonder how all that snow accumulated in those mountains? Well Snow Barrel Blast shows you how. A torrid blizzard blows across the screen. This not only perfectly captures the mood of a tall icy realm but also makes navigating the platforms and barrel cannons more difficult. An icy atmosphere that looks good and affects the game is hard to come by, especially when it’s done this well.
1 ) Cool, Cool Mountain – Super Mario 64
Being the quintessential platforming hero it’s not surprise that Mario has traipsed a few icebergs in his time. Of all of them Cool, Cool Mountain seems to stick out the most. Pushing the Snowman’s head back to him, rescuing the baby penguin, and Super Mario 64‘s first non-hidden slide level are all some of the most memorable moments in the series and they all happen in one stage. The bright and happy music can remind you of the fun and joy in playing in the snow, rather than the harsh temperatures of winter.
June was National Pride Month, and even though the glitz and glitter of the festivals and parades has long been swept out of the streets I still feel like celebrating. You’ve seen so many articles about the sexiest women in video games, and now in honor of National Pride Month this second edition of RoboGay is being dedicated to the hottest guys in games.
5. Commander Shepard (Generic): Mass Effect
With that square jaw, high cheek bones, and smoldering eyes Commander Shepard is one good lookin’ dude. Never mind the scars on a Renegade Commander Shepard’s face; it just makes him look more rugged!
4. Master Chief: Halo
Instead of giving up all of your goodies at once, it’s best to leave a little something to the imagination, and Master Chief takes that to a whole new level. What lurks behind that gold visor; the chiseled face of an Adonis, or does he look more like the Crypt Keeper?
3. Wolverine: X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Despite only having the spotlight in one game, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is easily one of the sexiest things to happen to a video game in a long time. I have evidence to back my claim up; the hard-hitting, investigative news publication People Magazine named him The Sexiest Man Alive, after all!
2. Sam Fisher: Splinter Cell
I’ve always been a sucker for a man with a beard! Add to that his piercing gaze ability to lurk in the shadows and his startling prowess with a silenced pistol, and you’ve really got the whole package with Sam…as long as he can keep his knife sheathed!
1. Travis Touchdown: No More Heroes
Cool hair, great sense of style, and a huge, pulsating…beam katana puts Travis at the top of the list. Plus we share a love of cats, and he has a really bitchin’ motorcycle to boot. He has a lame sense of humor, but it is akin to my own so that must be forgiven.
Well that wraps up my picks for the top five hottest guys in video games. I would love to hear some feedback about who should stay on the list and who should go. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below!
7 Minutes of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Gameplay:
Mass Effect 3:
Part 2 of May’s Dead Island Trailer:
Assassins Creed: Revelations Cinematic Trailer:
BioShock Infinite Trailer:
Need for Speed: The Run:
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition:
It is always fun spontaneously meeting a new person that you share an interest with, whether it is a specific sports team, paper-crafting or a love for D&D. My interest, as well as millions of others in the world, is video gaming. Finding a fellow gamer in public can be tricky as it is not very common for gamers to outwardly show their passion for gaming. There are no jerseys that represent your favorite character from a game like a sports fan could wear. Also, gaming just usually doesn’t come up in everyday conversation. Only on rare occasions do I get the chance to randomly and publicly mingle with gaming stranger.
Recently I have begun to notice a trend with most of these “gamer strangers.” Our conversations usually go something like this once gaming has been brought up:
Me: Oh have you played the new (insert recent anticipated title launch here)
Gamer: Nah, do you play Black Ops?
The conversation is over for me. I no longer think of this person as a gamer. In my head, obscenities are forming and I want to shout them at this person. I cannot wrap my mind around how people play this one FPS and nothing but this one FPS. I understand competitive multiplayer online game, I really do, having played the Gears of War saga online for countless hours, but this game, along with Modern Warfare 2 and the Halo games are just not THAT spectacular. They’re overrated to say the least. I wouldn’t have a problem with the people that play these games if I thought they were open minded and would give any other game genre a chance.
What irks me even more is that if they really wanted a good FPS experience, why play it on console? PC gaming usually offers players more and possibly even free content than console gaming. This can sometimes even let the players get ahold of development tools such a map editor or modification tool allowing user created content, something that is rarely seen on the console. Another great reason to game on PC is the mouse. While not great for all genres of games, the mouse makes aiming much more accurate for shooters.
These IPs, I have mentioned, sell extraordinarily well. I will probably never understand what draws millions of people to these mediocre rehashed games. Far be it from to mess with success. I am sure I will catch much flak for my opinion… oh wait, no I won’t because the people that I am speaking of do not read video game articles. They just need to know when their next online, console-based FPS is coming out and they can continue “fragging” with their head up their ass.
KinectHalo.com is coming your way…maybe. Microsoft has recently acquired the rights the domain name. Large corporations buy hundreds of unused domains, but as we are patiently awaiting a new big Halo project from 343 industries one can’t help but expect something exciting is in the works between Halo and Kinect.
I can only imagine the genius minds at 343 industries trying to tie one of the ultimate IPs into the Kinect. Imagine getting to play as Master Chief. It’s like when Mario went 3D in Mario 64. It’s going to be a whole new world and it’s a very exciting development. Roboawesome will update you with more info as it becomes available.
Ah yes, it’s time for another Keyan Reid editorial folks! Get that hate-mail ready!
Seriously though, last week we were treated to something epic. Something momentous. Something that had us psyched and pumped and chomping at the bit.
Last week, we got Halo: Reach. And it wasn’t just another Halo game. It wasn’t simply Halo 5 (or Halo Zero if you want to be all uppity about it). No, it was Halo: The End.
It was easy to let that little nugget slip past us. The frenzied excitement for the game – worked up masterfully via widespread exposure to the beta earlier in the year – had even casual FPS fans dying to get their copy of the game. And once it did hit shelves, Halo: Reach firmly established itself as the best of the bunch. In fact, I dare any of you to tell me that Halo 2, 3, or ODST were better, or even on par for that matter. C’mon. Try it. I triple-double-dog dare you. (note: Halo: Combat Evolved is excused from this because it was the birth-mother to all that awesomeness, so it gets a free pass).
But now, with many of us having bested the campaign, fought a few Firefights, and handed a few people their asses in versus mode, the fever has been able to cool slightly. And with that comes the reflection. The realization.
This was the end, folks. It’s game over.
I was going to try to make a reference to Star Wars, and how Return of the Jedi was the end of an era…..but then the crappy prequels came along, making us pray for another end of the era…..you can see how the analogy fell apart. But the point is, this is a milestone. A bittersweet moment in history where we saw just how great things could be, only to realize that they will probably never reach such great heights again.
Is the Halo franchise over? No. Of course not. But Halo games from Bungie – the game’s creator, once-owner, and genius force that made this series what it was – they are a thing of the past now. Control has been transferred away from them, and they go on to work on god knows what with Activision, while Microsoft takes the reins on our Spartans and ODSTs.
Will Microsoft treat the series with the same reverence and dedication that Bungie did? We don’t know. But despite their imperfections, we do know that Bungie gave us five solid titles. Yes, some were WAY better than others, but in the end, they were all fun.
Bungie cared about the fans, the story, the Halo mythology. And while it’s easy to just hate on Microsoft outright, it is still a realistic concern to wonder if they understand what they have in their hands, and how they should treat it (they’re handling of the prospective Halo movie a few years back gives that question a preeminent NO on that).
This last paragraph is a SPOILER for those who haven’t finished Reach, so stop reading here if you haven’t finished the game:
At the end of Reach, its easy to see some symbolism there. We didn’t just watch the slow, painful death of Noble Team. We watched the death of Halo as it was crafted and maintained by Bungie. And that’s why the game’s ending is more troubling than it seems at first glance.
We’ll miss you Bungie. Well, at least your Halo games. Try not to suck at Activision, k?
Hey there, RoboReaders! The fine folks over at Double Forte have given us a few team passes to the upcoming MLG Halo Combine in Denver International Airport, CO. The team passes include four total passes into the event (a $100 value) to participate in the 4v4 Halo tournament. Want to get in on the action? Leave a comment here if you live in the area or can make it down — the tournament takes place from July 23 through the 25.
There are prizes to be won, with eighth place winning a whopping $8,000, and first place winning $100,000. Our friends over at Double Forte will send you an email with details on how to register your gamer tag. But guess what else? You get to hang out with some of the RoboAwesome staff that lives in the area!
This giveaway is first come first serve.
Master Chief isn’t the only Covenant slaughtering machine out there.
Halo 3: ODST for the Xbox 360 puts you in the shoes of the titular Orbital Drop Shock Troopers. The game’s campaign mode takes place right after the New Mombosa mission in Halo 2 – in fact, you are making your orbital drop right when the Covenant ship makes an inner-atmospheric jump, which unleashes pure chaos across the city. As the shockwave blasts through the skies while you rapidly descend to earth, another drop pod gets blasted into yours, and you get sent flying off course.
Six hours later, you’ll wake up to find yourself very much alone in hostile territory. Slipping past (or through) Covenant patrols, your task is now to find your teammates and figure out just what the hell is going on.
Man, how many more ‘First Impressions’ pieces can we do on one game?
Well folks, the fact is that today, the full release of Halo 3: ODST is out, and PowerAwesome.com wasted no time in getting copies. So now, there’s more to discuss than just the Firefight mode that we’ve already covered here at E3 and PAX. Today is all about the campaign mode.
The reviews for Halo 3: ODST have been all over the place. Opposable Thumbs, CHUD, and other sites all came down on the game with little favor, lamenting the campaign mode thoroughly. But having now played through the earlier sections of that mode firsthand, their complaints seem heavy handed or even deliberately deceitful.
The action at the start does seem a little sparing. We’ll give them that. But to read many of those reviews, you would think that the campaign mode consisted of little more than walking around an empty city on a treasure hunt, followed by brief episodes of combat.
That’s not entirely true. When walking around as ‘the Rookie’, you are not in an empty city. You are in a city that just has no friendlies. That’s a big, big difference.