26 March 2012

No Wonder the Voting Booth Looks More and More Unpleasant...

Based off a quiz I took while bored, I appear to be a moderately left libertarian.

Your political compass

Economic Left/Right: -1.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.74

Apparently not one of the presidential candidates for this year share my ideals. Not only that, but everyone is EXACTLY the SAME! (Except Santorum still scares the crap out of me...)

Happy Election Year! *sobs*

25 March 2012

March 2012 Update

The school year is coming to an end and it's kinda scary. I've been so wrapped up in finishing things up, preparing for college, and finding time for myself that I barely had the time to update here! Excuses, excuses I know...

Because I haven't had many new ideas, I am still looking through my fifty or so drafts that I may post later on. I bought some new music lately that may stimulate some creativity again, but I still need to light a fire under my butt. Really, I need to stop making excuses...

Anywho, I'll be down in DC next weekend to see the gorgeous sakura trees in bloom. Hopefully there will be at least one beautiful tree to take a picture of. It's scary how quickly everything is blooming this year. My allergies are really kicking in.

While I'm down there I really want to checkout the Smithsonian museums down there. I have far too many fond memories of visiting the really cool exhibits. One I am ecstatic for is The Art of Video Games at the American Art Museum. As one who is too "hardcore" for a casual gamer and too "casual" for a hardcore gamer, I will cry if I miss out on this. (You reading this, dad?!)

And thank you to Oancitizen on That Guy with the Glasses for stimulating my interest.

12 March 2012

'Multi-Dimensional: Sonic Adventure 2 Original Sound Track'

Sonic Adventure 2 has no idea how lucky it was. By some divine intervention, it was nearly as well received - by [certain] fans and critics - as it's elder brother. To this day, the Adventure games are hailed as the best 3D Sonic games ever made. And music is no exception.

How does this stand to SA1's masterpiece?


This may take a bit of explaining.

"Way to the Base"

I have a great attachment this soundtrack purely for nostalgic reasons. Sonic Adventure 2 was my first game in the franchise, and when I heard the main riff for the title screen, fireworks exploded in my poor childish mind. The rest of the music in the game was all uphill and glorious from then on out. I heard these tracks so often I could burst out into air guitars or nonsensical humming while walking down the street.

Boss: "Masters of the Desert"

Very much like SA1's soundtrack there is a decent bit of variety... though not as much. There is a greater emphasis on the action stages for each of the six playable characters. Sonic has the awesome rock music that bleeds attitude. Tracks for Tails may at times sound like Sonic's, but they tend to be more melodic and lighthearted. Shadow's can best be described as edgy and dark while flipping between rock and techno. More interestingly, the music for Eggman is electronic and atmospheric, making this the only time when the villain had fitting themes.

Boss: "For True Story"

Other than the main theme, the ever legendary "Live and Learn", some of the tracks have singing. This is mostly reserved for Sonic and Shadow, such as in "Supporting Me", "Rhythm and Balance", and "Escape from the City". The lyrics are nothing special and yet not horrible. It's more than likely you will not be able to hear them well when playing Sonic Adventure 2 or the soundtrack itself. This effort feels a bit half-baked: the sound team tries something new to the music, yet they don't have the guts to jump headfirst into the pool. Especially "Deeper", where a good chunk of the song was cut out in the game because someone used "damn" casually. Then the game is noted for "mild lyrics" when you can't hear crap. Genius.

"That's the Way I Like It"

Speaking of which... I skipped over the rap for Knuckles and jazz for Rouge because their music is very hit or miss. There are the one or two entertaining tracks, but a good chunk of the selection is more unlistenable now than in the good old days. Thankfully Knuckles' gets less obnoxious after "Kick the Rock!" Yet while I may sit back and laugh at the hilarity, many of you may have the urge to pop your eardrums. (My poor dad suffered through it... that was a long road trip...) It's a guilty pleasure, I guess. As for Rouge... "I'm a Spy" is generic... that's about it.

"Bright Sound"

It's good that there's an emphasis on music during action stages as opposed to events. Many gamers tend to skip cutscenes and will not remember tracks if a new one is used for every video between gameplay. In this case you are more likely to find these songs memorable, regardless of the tolerance level, because of their being used more than once. There are only 10 event songs here, one of which is broken into pieces but flows beautifully. Future Sonic games - especially Sonic 2006 - need to learn a lot from "3 Black Noises". It pretty much sums up Shadow's story as well as the entire plot in general.

Boss: "-GUN- Mobile"

Though I love that Sonic Adventure 2's soundtrack is more rock-oriented than it's elder brother, overall it's quite rigid, repetitive, and uneven. There are many fantastic songs here, but there are just as many that fall flat. Part of the problem is that every character has his or her own theme, which only represents the bare minimum of their corresponding genres. You can hear loads of better rap, rock, jazz, techno, and electronic music.

"Space Trip Steps"

At the least this is still a generally decent listen. This soundtrack is overall far less versitle than SA1's, while still having some very memorable songs. (How could I ever forget "Vengeance Is Mine", one of the most remixed songs in this entire franchise?) This is for fans of SA2 hands down. As much as I'd love to bring all of the best to the table, give these featured tracks a spin. In terms of accessibility, I think Sonic Adventure was far more forgiving and consistent.

"Scramble for the Core"

Lastly, I suggest playing the soundtrack on shuffle. The list forces you to listen to all of the characters' themes at once (ex: all of Sonic's, then all of Tails, then Knuckles, etc.), which annoyed me to the point of completely reorganizing the list on my iTunes.

- lots of memorable action stage music
- music for the Chao gardens are refreshing
- Live and Learn. PERIOD.
- event tracks well composed

- the rap and jazzy tracks can be painful or boring
- track listing is very repetitive and frustrating
- 60 tracks feels longer than SA1's 69

Despite it's flaws, due to it's age and it's video game-ish wackiness, Multi-Dimensional is still worth giving a try. Want to do it the legal way? Play Sonic Adventure 2. :P

3 out of 5

"3 Black Noises"
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