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Old 02-16-2007, 06:35 PM   #1
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The Bell Tree Gaming Magazine (Feb. 07 - Vol.2, Iss.1)

It's been a while, but TBTGM is back. In this issue, we have quite the variety of articles, including our thoughts on the Virtual Console, a look into what the Wii has brought so far and what is to come, and much, much more! Sit back and do enjoy.


Wii Articles
3-TOP 5 FOR WII, 2007


Special Features

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Old 02-16-2007, 06:40 PM   #2
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It has been a couple months now having the Wii, and I have to say I still do enjoy it. I might have had some dry spells but you need that with any game system. Just last weekend I was with some friends playing Wii Sports, and switching off on minigames in Ray-man Raving Rabbits; aren’t the rabbits they hilarious? Still it has been a long time since beating Zelda and I cannot wait for the next big title from the N. Most games right now are minigames, or microgames even, and I am looking for the next adventure. The next year looks bright for large scale Nintendo franchises, for Super Smash Brothers Brawl, to Super Mario Galaxy, to Metroid Prime3 Corruption. Nintendo has a winning hand coming up if they aren’t bluffing.
Recently Dave Karraker, a spokesman for Sony, had stated, “Wii could be considered an impulse buy more than anything else,” which unless you happen to be rich with $250 just lying around I highly doubt the Wii is an “impulse” buy. Truth be told, it is probably the fact that word of mouth is more important now that the internet allows someone from San Francisco hear what someone thinks in New York. Most households that would even think of getting a video game console have internet, and where better to look for info on the latest system to see what people think? The Wii is found to be fun and already has at least one title out that could be one of the top ten still by the end of the system. Not to mention the price. Most things online talking about the PS3 have to do with complaints about it right now. People complain bout the price, about the current lack of games for it, and so many more things. Any complaints I have heard about the Wii have either been about updates on the internet, which the PS3 also shares, or those weird incidents of the strap breaking, which Nintendo very quickly replaced. The other thing about the straps breaking or hurting you while playing is actually kind of comical. Sorry if that makes me a bad person but you can have a funny story to tell about the new bruise on your hand. How can you have that kind of story with the PS3? If you hurt yourself playing PS3, it is like say I hurt myself while reading a book, the best word to describe an injury like that is sad.

The Xbox 360 has been excluded in many arguments over what system to get lately. However this is because it has been out for a year already. They already have a large number of systems sold. Their base has already been developed, and it looks like they are already succeeding. There are many similar complaints between the PS3 and 360 as well. How many times have you heard of the dreaded “red light” on a 360? What it comes down to though is that Microsoft is already guaranteed something and so most media turns to the new fighters and try to make predictions on them. I would rather watch 2 hares duke it out on the side of the race track than to watch the third racer going slow and steady, already guaranteed a place since it started first, and wasn’t quite in this fight.

As far as I see right now, the Wii is already a winner. The Wii has made many people enjoy playing video games, people who didn’t before. It is accomplishing its goal of extending the base of potential consumers. I for one look forward to many great years of fighting it out in SSBB with friends. Perhaps I will get another system, perhaps not; either way, I am going to enjoy playing with my Wii. (No pun intended )
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Old 02-16-2007, 06:41 PM   #3
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MY TOP 5 FOR WII, 2007

5-Tie)Mario Party 8 / Harvest Moon Wii
I'm hoping HM for Wii will be as good as the original, on N64, and not as "meh" as the Cube ones. I think the Wii controls will be able to spice up the HM series a bit. If HM doesn't turn out well, I'm hoping MP8 also is more like its older versions (on N64) than the newer version (4-7 on Cube), which were almost exactly similar to the previous one, with "new" minigames and boards... even though it all played quite similar. MP, which once was the icon of creativity and uniqueness, went down the chutes in my opinion thanks to its Cube versions, and I'm hoping motion-sensing controls can revive the franchise.

4)Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Crystal Chronicles
FFCC for Cube was easily the RPG in which I've ever had the most fun in its multiplayer mode. Not only did FFCC have one of the best RPG multiplayer modes of all-time, but its single-player also was very fun and deep as well. Although the story wasn't comparable to some of the great FFs (VII, IX, etc.), it was quality nonetheless. The whole system of battle, abilities, etc. was very well built-in to the game, and I'm hoping for nothing less in the sequel.

3)Super Mario Galaxy
A lot of people were disappointed by Sunshine for some reason; I thought it was a decent game. Obviously, it was not as good as other Mario games, such as Super Mario 64 or Super Mario World, but it wasn't nearly as bad as, say, Luigi's Mansion. Now, when I first saw the gameplay video of Galaxy, I got really excited. It really does look a completely new fame, with fresh ideas scattered all around. It'll be interesting to see how Nintendo pulls it off with such tiny levels (at least the levels seemed tiny in the video from E3).

2)Metroid Prime 3
SMG somewhat deserves this #2 spot, but I love the Metroid series, so MP3 gets it. My favorite Metroid game is easily Super Metroid, and I also enjoyed both Prime games, but at the same time, they were disappointing. Nintendo usually sticks to solid gameplay, before spectacular graphics, but The 2 Prime games on Cube really pushed the Cube's limits (graphically) to the limit. The games looked beautiful, but they weren't as good as Super Metroid in my opinion. Why? Because SM created an amazing atmosphere that I was emerged in - the music, the world's design, etc. On the other hand, MP and MP2 looked great, but they just didn't play the same. Thought those 2 games, I felt the first-person view somewhat ruined the game for me... I guess I'll just enjoy a Metroid game more if it's a sidescroller, and not an FPS.

Anyways, I'm hoping that the Wii's controls for MP3 can give it that more natural feel that I experienced with Super Metroid. Obviously the visuals are jaw-dropping in MP3, and there's a lot of upside for the possibilities for the control scheme. And of course, how could a Metroid game now have an awesome sci-fi storyline!

1)Super Smash Bros. Brawl
SSBB is going to be the must-have game for this generation of videogames. People say LoZ:TP is great, which it is, but it doesn't appeal to everyone. Like past SSB games, Brawl is going to be one of those games that you'll love whether you play it for hours on end, or just play once or twice at your friend's house.

There were 26 playable characters in Melee, and there have already been 3 more confirmed for Brawl (Meta Knight, Pit, Wario, as well as Zero Suit Samus replacing Samus). Hopefully there will be more, but whatever happens happens.

One feature a lot of people are looking forward to is online battling. SSBB will probably use friend codes, so you can play against your friends using FCs, or random people otherwise. Both ways will be fun, I'm sure.

But the reason SSBB is #1 on my list is because there's no other game like it, and the past SSB games have been amazingly fun. I already have DBZT2, a fighting game for Wii which is a lot of fun, but like practically all other fighting games, none come close to SSB's style and level of fun.

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Old 02-16-2007, 06:43 PM   #4
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I made a bet with myself when the Wii was released that gamers would never be satisfied with the Virtual Console, no matter what the lineup would be.

I won that bet.

During November, we barely got any good games for the Virtual Console (or so the majority of people believed), and so, what happened then? Backlash. Lots of it. People started threatening that they'd stop buying Nintendo consoles if the Virtual Console wasn't improved, and there chaos ensued. It was natural, surely. After all, if Nintendo's promising us enticing content, shouldn't they capitalize on that and deliver? Many thought that Nintendo had a failure on their hands with their downloadable service, but I knew that this was far from the case. In the early days of the VC, lots of great software was released, but it was overlooked because it didn't have any kind of name attached to it; no name to sell it, in short. After all, who still remembered Gunstar Heroes or Ristar? Not a lot of people, but those who truly appreciated good games didn't complain and downloaded those titles, plus all of the great Turbo-Grafx16 games, like Bonk's Adventure and Bomberman '93.

That's what real gamers did. The rest thought it was smart and wise to whine until they got what they wanted. Even when they finally got some games with big names (think Mario and Castlevania on Christmas Day) people were STILL unsatisfied. There were echoes of "but we've already played these games before, why download them again?" and the sort, and people failed to realize that their so-called "classics" have already been played by so many people and so many times that it was flat-out stupid to download them again. Asking for niche titles is understandable, but why was there whining when we had niche titles like Ristar? People didn't even know what they wanted.

Now, nothing's changed. Nintendo has released A Link To The Past and is set to release Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, Mario Kart 64, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time next month at the latest. Will people be satisfied? I doubt it. When A Link To The Past was released (Jan 22nd), not only was there the expected triumph and celebrating, but there was the (also expected) backlash. "I don't like Zelda, why was it the only game we got this Monday?!" or "I already beat this game on the SNES five hundred times!!!" reverberated throughout the Nintendo community, and I knew that I was right all along; Nintendo would never be able to please everyone at the same time. That was a feat that no company could accomplish.

Let us think logically for a moment. If Nintendo were to stay with their current strategy, what would they get? Backlash for keeping all of the good titles to themselves for so long. What if they were to release all of their big games in one month? What would they get for that? Backlash for giving them all at once and forcing consumers to spend enormous amounts of money, also all at once. It's an impossible task to please everyone, and the sad truth is, there will never be a day when everyone will be pleased. Nintendo doesn't really care, either, since they see the tremendous sales that are coming from these microtransactions, and they will only continue to do what they're doing... What will happen then?

They'll receive more backlash.
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Old 02-16-2007, 06:44 PM   #5
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Platform: DS
Publsiher: Atlus
Rated: E for Everyone
Price: $30

Yes, one way or another we have all heard about this game. To most of us, it wasn’t a big deal at all. It was one of the most not-cared about DS titles in most people’s opinion. However, if you ever decide to give this game a chance, it’s well worth it!

Let’s begin with the humor. This game has nothing but strange and humorous characters to help keep you going in the game. The storylines to a few of the cases are even pretty funny. From the look of the game, it doesn’t seem like it would have any humor, because it gives off sort of a Tim Burton-ish look, but you’d be surprised at what these characters can say at times.

Next, the cases. There are 4 difficult cases you need to solve in order to complete the game. These cases each take a lot of time, but they are also a lot of fun. Once you complete all 4 cases, and beat the game, it’s not over yet! There are still things to do: Bonus cases, completing an Investigation Report, and a lot more. This game will keep you interested even once those credits are over.

My favorite aspect of the game is the characters. Touch Detective includes a wide variety of characters, including Mackenzie (who you play as), also known as the soon-to-be Touch Detective, Cromwell, her robot butler, who has served her family for ages, who will give you some help along the way, Penelope…who is, in my opinion, the weirdest of them all, and Chloe, Mackenzie’s rival. Of course, there are tons of more side characters you will meet along the way.

The graphics of Touch Detective are slightly different from most games out there. This is only because Touch Detective gives off a different feel, and doesn’t have much of a need for real-life looking graphics. Trust me on this one, the Tim-Burton feel/graphics style is the only way to go for this game.

The downside to this game, is the fact that you may get stuck from time to time, and not know what to do…sometimes there are small little things you must do to advance, such as get a banana peel from someone’s pocket, or get a coin from a certain part of the vending machine. But, you’ll figure out what to do eventually, otherwise, there’s always a good Walkthrough out there.

All in all, I would give Touch Detective a 7.5 out of 10. It’s a good game, with good replay value, but I did find it slightly slow-paced. I hope you all pick up Touch Detective for yourself sometime, just to check it out. If you want to solve a few good mysteries, and have some laughs along the way, this is the game for you.
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Old 02-16-2007, 06:45 PM   #6
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Platform: Wii
Publisher: Konami
Rated: E for Everyone
Genre: Action
Players: Up to 4 players
Release Date: Dec 19, 2006
Price: $50

What happens when you put Pikmin and Animal Crossing in one game? Elebits is the answer. This game is purely built for the Wii and most likely couldn't be as innovative if it were on another system.

Elebits in the toilet, too?

The story starts out with a little boy named Kai who hates Elebits. To make things more interesting, his parents research them. One night the power goes out all over town and Kai's parents leave him home alone to go check it out. (Isn't that child abuse?) Well, since his parents aren't home he goes to watch TV but he remembers that without power you can't watch TV. So, he decides to go into his father's lab to get the capture gun so he can capture the Elebits to restore the power all over town.

This game couldn't get any more innovative.
Overall, the game is actually pretty fun. The controls could use some work overall. Turning the Wiimote can be hard some times to open a door. Maybe it's just me but the controls could use some work. Maybe instead, Nintendo could have made it so you press more buttons instead of all the Wiimote motions. That's the way I’d prefer it.

Next is sound. First off, may I say the voice-overs suck? Everyone who has a brain knows that. Consequently the music isn’t that bad. It could be better though. That's my opinion anyway. For all the extra stuff it's pretty cool. My first suggestion is to watch the creepy dance video in the extras. Also when you pause you can take a photo of the current screen and send it to a friend via WiiConect24. My favorite of all the cool features is the Level Editor/Creator. All you have to do is beat a level and, Viola! You can edit at you complete needs. Of course it's not that easy. To be able to get more parts you need to rank a "B" in the level.

Elebits + Garage = Custom Stage Editor

So that's my review on Elebits but first let's look over my scores.

++ Innovation
= Story
- Sound
= Game-play

Overall Score: 7/10
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Old 02-16-2007, 06:46 PM   #7
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Platform: Virtual Console (Wii)
Original Platform: Sega Genisis
Publisher: SEGA
Rated: E for Everyone
Price: $8

Nintendo's summary: Toe Jam and Earl are two fun-loving aliens who accidentally crash on Earth when their spaceship collides with a meteorite! They must find 10 pieces of the spaceship so they can get back home to Planet Funkotron, but not all levels have the pieces. If there's a piece in a level, you will receive a hint as soon as you arrive.

This series would have become Sega's star if Sonic had not come along to blow them away. Toejam and Earl are funky, hip, and entirely lost. You start off at level one and quickly get a grip on what you do in the game. You explore the levels, and find the elevator to get to the next. Along the way you find items in presents, at first you don't know what type of item is in which packaging, as you open them you discover what is at your disposal. Be careful though, there are some pretty bad presents out there, including the dreaded "Total Bummer". Luckily on some level you can find a wise old carrot who will identify presents for you if you give him a couple bucks. The main fun in the game though would have to be avoiding and fighting the many different and often hilarious baddies you encounter. These range form the boogie man, to a creepy ghost ice cream truck, to the guy next door mowing his lawn. If you love exploring bizarre places this is a great game for you..

The music does become a little stale after a while, this is pretty unfortunate, if it had more music I would like it that much better. Still it doesn't hinder it too much. At least the little music it does have gives you a beat to move by.

Graphics? Hard to judge past games now, but they are pretty good for the time. It does hold a certain cartoon quality, which, in a game where your main weapon is tomatoes, is appropriate. One surprising thing though is how they actually have shadow in it. If you see a moving shadow, GET AWAY, the boogie man is coming to getcha!

Like multiplayer? Good news! There is a two player mode in this game. What made this games multi player mode so unique is the ability to split up or stick together. If you are close enough to each other the whole screen shows the same shot. But what if you want to go right and your friend wants to go left? You both can, once you are too far for the one screen the screen will become split allowing you both to cover more ground when needed. Almost feels like Four Swords Adventure, because of course you get to fight over who gets what, and attack each other if you really want to.

I also just want to give a couple of secrets and hints. Although there is a level one, who says you can go no lower? This game included a level zero for you to enjoy. Once you get something to get you across the water head to the lower left hand side of the level to fall to it. Your reward? An extra life, a health healing hot tub (ladies included), and free pas back up to the highest level you were at so far (just fall off the edge there). A hint to watch out for is the big fat sleeping man. Why? ‘Cause he is Santa, and if you sneak up on him and he doesn't wake up you get to scare presents out of him.

All in all I love this game. It was one of the first games I owned, and I still love it. this would be a great download on the VC if you are looking for a fun game to play.
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Old 02-16-2007, 06:46 PM   #8
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With the Gamecube’s waning, people’s thoughts began to move on to the Wii, dismissing any new games. The Gamecube had one last swan song, however, and it wasn’t Zelda.

It was Baten Kaitos Origins. Now, here’s some history. The first Baten Kaitos game, Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean came out way back in the day, around the time that Paper Mario: TTYD was released. The weird card battle system had turned me off of the game, so I forgot about it. Fast forward to last summer. I remembered that game, and how much I looked forward to it, and then forgot about it. I looked it up on Wikipedia, and after a few days of careful research, I went to Gamestop to buy a copy of Baten Kaitos, since the sequel (rather, prequel) would be coming out soon. I started playing it, amazed by the graphics and….not so amazed by the voice acting.

The Baten Kaitos series is made up of two games- Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, and its prequel, set twenty years earlier, Baten Kaitos Origins. The setting of both games is a series of islands in the sky, away from the polluted earth. People all have “wings of the heart”, a manifestation of a person’s soul, which can be used for flight.

The name Baten Kaitos comes from a star in the constellation Cetus, the whale. “Baten Kaitos” means “in the belly of the whale.” Lots of locales in this game take their names from ancient stars. Check out this link…you’ll find many familiar names if you’ve played the game.

The game’s plot reminds me slightly of Star Wars- not in the plot aspect, but in how everything ties together, which is what makes this series great. I played Baten Kaitos: EWatLO first and loved it, despite some flaws like bad voice acting, and a slightly slow pace at the beginning. After spending quite a long time on the game, and completing it, I picked up Baten Kaitos Origins, and played it through to the end. In the first game, we see how the world is “fixed” in a sense, what happens with Malpercio, the End Magus, and how the world becomes a happy place at the end. In Origins, we see how everything fell apart in the first place. Think of the fall of the Empire, and the resolution in the end.

There are some nice references to the first game- young versions of some characters, the parents of some characters, and good things like that. There are also elaborations upon how the crazy Emperor Geldoblame from the first game became fat and ugly, when in Origins, he was polite, and well mannered, if not a little prissy. And there’s much more detail and some nice revelations about Malpercio- the ancient god of the past.
You actually play a role in this game- a sort of “guardian spirit” and the characters occasionally converse with you and ask your guidance, although replacing your name with a conveniently placed blank in the voice acting. Guardian Spirits are spirits from another world: I took that to mean me, sitting in front of my TV. Spiriters, people who can converse with guardian spirits, can change the fate of the world, something that is very important in these games.

The music of both games is simply stunning; the game’s soundtrack is one of the best I’ve heard in a long time. There are some remixes of tunes from the first game, some new songs, and my personal favorite song happens to be in Origins- its main theme: Le Ali Del Principio- a truly amazing piece of music sung by the composer’s nine year old daughter.

There are also quite a few differences between the two games- the voice acting in Origins is infinitely better. The voice acting breathes more life into the characters, giving them more depth, and a healthy dose of humor, with the banter of the party, and this line- “Who throws barrels anyway? A giant monkey who got his hands on some pretty wench?”

The battle systems are both different in their own ways, though they are both card-based. (No, not like Yu-Gi-Oh, thank goodness.) Origins has a bit of a faster pace than the original, but they are both great. I won’t go into great depth about this- it’s something you have to experience for yourself.

Another thing that makes the games special is time. In the first game, lots of battle cards age- some examples include fruit rotting, wheat turning into beer, and my personal favorite- a debt card, which does absolutely nothing, but lets you watch a magus called “debt” turn into “snowballing debt”, and finally…“DEBT HELL!” MWAHAHAHAHA!

Quest magus, which lets you take, say, an apple, and give it to someone else, also ages. Water ages and evaporates, fire burns out, and food rots. Origins also uses this concept, but normal battle magus do not age, only quest magus.

These games are so intricate and complex (in a good way, mind you), that I can’t possibly explain the details in this article. Take my word for it, though. If you’re looking for a great RPG game for the Gamecube, or a way to whittle away your time when having a really good time, pick up the games in this series. You might have to do a bit of searching, however. Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean came out some time ago- I found my copy at Gamestop, though Origins might still be at your local game store.
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Old 02-16-2007, 06:48 PM   #9
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45% The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
20% Wii Sports
10% Excite Truck
5% Trauma Center: Second Opinion
10% Don't have a Wii

LoZ: TP rode off with an easy victory in this poll, as was the same in many others.

In a random survey of The Bell Tree Forum members, we asked what you, the reader, picked as the best Wii game available as of January 2006.
Is there any surprise here? Twilight Princess, regarded as one of the best games of all time, is the reader's pick. Wii Sports is in second with a fifth of the votes. I would say this is because it came with the Wii itself. Elebits and Excite Truck tie for third; these innovative titles deserved it. In last with 5% is Trauma Center: Second Opinion.
These approximate results of what The Bell Tree members like are shared by reviewers. Not only did Twilight Princess sell almost 1:1 with the Wii itself, its unforgettable story and wide range of characters make it a shoe-in for favorite game.
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Old 02-16-2007, 06:48 PM   #10
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Thanks for reading TBTGM, and be on the lookout for next month's issue (in about a month). If you happen to be interested in contributing to TBTGM, we always have writing spots open - just PM DarthGohan1 at The Bell Tree for more info on joining the TBTGM crew.

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Old 02-16-2007, 07:22 PM   #11
I speak with codes.
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Wow, that's kind of neat!
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Old 02-16-2007, 07:24 PM   #12
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Glad ya liked it.
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