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Ask Joystiq: hunting, singing, hating, saving


This week on Ask Joystiq, we tackle Smash Bros Brawl's quirky saving preferences, universal disdain for Metroid II, the Smash Bros Brawl theme song, and the hunt for a classic Apple II platformer.

If you have any burning questions, unsolved gaming mysteries, or just a desire for musings from our knowledgeable cadre of writers, drop us a line at ask AAT joystiq DAWT com (and yes, we write it that way for a reason).

Q: If you haven't noticed by now, you cannot save your [Super Smash Bros. Brawl] game save to an SD card. However, you can save Vault data (Replays, Snapshots, and Custom Maps) to an external SD card. What gives?

We asked Nintendo the same thing and got a predictable no comment, but we expect the answer has something to do with forcing players to unlock the game's myriad characters, stages, trophies and stickers on their own. This seems a little overbearing to us, though ... what does Nintendo care if we want to just unlock everything outright? This isn't like Xbox Live, where cheaters get an unfair advantage on the Gamerscore boards -- with SSBB, the only person a cheater is cheating is themselves.

Q: Why all the hate for Metroid II? I think it's pretty awesome IMO.
- M2Fan

We won't disagree with you there, M2Fan, but Metroid II: Return of Samus on Game Boy has always taken a lot of flak from the gaming community. A particularly seething review from 1UP's Jeremy Parish breaks down the hate quite nicely: stiff controls, repetitive background art, artificially constrained level design, and a soundtrack that pales in comparison to Hiroo "Hip" Tanaka's scores for the original NES title.

Of course, we feel that there's still a lot to love about Metroid II. The title introduced some of Samus's most integral weapons, such as the Spring Ball and Space Jump, and nobody can deny that the evolving Metroid designs were quite inspired. What's more, Metroid II brought us more Metroid (on a portable, no less!), and set up the story for the universally-acclaimed Super Metroid. It definitely holds a special place in our hearts.

Q: Back in 1995 or so, I used to play a platforming game on an old Apple computer, and I can't seem to track it down. You controlled a little pixelated man in a hat, collecting coins in an underground maze. The further down you went, the creepier the rooms got. The rooms had conveyor belts, rolling skulls and lots of ladders. Please help me find this missing piece of my childhood!
- Nostalgic Gamer

We had to put on our thinking caps for this one. If the Apple computer was "old" back in 1995, our best guess is that it was the Apple II, which had a number of classic platforming titles. Our first guess was Lode Runner, but the little man was lacking a hat, and there were no rolling skulls to be found. Next we stumbled upon Miner 2049er, which starred the hat-wearing Bounty Bob, but lacked the type of downward-moving gameplay described.

Luckily, we think we've found the game you're looking for: Montezuma's Revenge. The unfortunately-titled platformer has players collecting jewels through the labyrinthine maze of Montezuma's tomb. It's got ladders, conveyor belts and, yes, even skulls that roll. Enjoy.

Q. I really love the Smash Bros Brawl song at the beginning that sounds like an opera, but what are they singing?
- James G

The song is actually in Latin, the lyrics and translation you find out after beating Subspace Emissary. For a more accessible reference, Brawl Central has the lyrics broken down into Latin, Japanese, and English (both a translation and a reprinting of the game's interpretation). Of course, you could always just trust the helpful (and sometimes humorous) "translations" found elsewhere online.

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