Sonic Concludes and Mario Preparations Begin

The Sonic marathon has sadly concluded as all of our guests have made their way back home (minus Nitram, holdover for the Hobbit viewing party). I had a really fun time and the community was great. We raised just under $4,000 for the Rocking H Ranch. Thank you for the time and effort that you all have put into TSG.

We are going to quickly move on to planning our next marathon which is the week long Mario event, July 17-24. We have a lot of time to plan so I think this event has the potential to be very successful. Our first meeting is going to be either in the second or third week of January. My goal is to give the community monthly updates on the planning stages for Mario. I will post the updates on our youtube and website. There will also soon be a planning topic so that we can start working on the schedule and all the other fun stuff that goes into a marathon.

Thanks again!

OILD Day 10: Ice Mountain Zone

It’s here! Day 10 is here! You know that in a couple of days, we’ll be holding our Sonic marathon for the Rockin’ H Ranch, right? Of course you do! It’ll be a pretty fun celebration of one of the most famous game series of all time. That’s why today’s ice level is Ice Mountain Zone, from Sonic Advance!

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Sonic Advance marked the first time a new Sonic game was published on a Nintendo console. The story was pretty simple, too; Dr. Eggman wanted to conquer a place called South Island, and naturally it was up to Sonic and his friends to save the day. Hey, simplicity! Just like I like in my crazy cartoony games!

Ice Mountain was a pretty standard ice level, featuring white snowfalls, icy floors, and frosty lakes. There are a lot of bumpers half-buried in the snow, so if you can find them, use them! Additionally, there were a few frozen grind rails you could slide down. Now that I think about it, it’s pretty impressive that Sonic could travel those things without falling off! Huge sections of the stage were underwater, and naturally you need to find air bubbles to survive. There were also several Badniks in the stage, including snowman, jellyfish, shark, and of course, penguin robots. The boss of the stage was Dr. Eggman piloting a robot that walked on the ceiling.  While this robot was able to drop icicles onto you, the real danger was the terrain; most of the room was submerged in water, so using the ice as makeshift platforms so you could jump out and get some air was critical! After Eggman’s defeat, you could then open a device that was full of captive birds and snowshoe hares. Aww! BE FREE, ANIMAL FRIENDS!

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SLIDIN’

And today’s music! You know, I’m happy to be posting about a Sonic ice level, but at the same time I was dreading this, purely because of how much music there is to post. So let’s get to it!  Ice Cap Zone Act 1 and Ice Cap Zone Act 2 are from Sonic 3! Diamond Dust Zone Act 1 and Act 2 are from Sonic 3-D Blast! Robotnik Winter Zone is from Sonic Triple Trouble!  Ice Cap is from Sonic Drift 2! And here’s the Ice Cap from Sonic Adventure! Aurora Icefield is from Sonic: The Fighters! Ice Mountain Act 1 and Act 2 is from Sonic Advance! Ice Paradise Act 1 and Act 2 are from Sonic Advance 2! Twinkle Snow Act 1, Act2, and Act 3 are from Sonic Advance 3! Blizzard Peaks Act 1 and Act 2 are from Sonic Rush Adventure! Crystal Mountain is from Sonic Rivals! White Acropolis is from Sonic 2006! Cool Edge is from Sonic Unleashed! Icy Isles is from SegaSonic the Hedgehog! White Park Act 1 and Act 2 are from Sonic 4: Episode 2! Frozen Factory Act 1, Act 2, and Act 3 are from Sonic: Lost World!

Ohh boy… and the remixes. Now, I can’t post every single Sonic-themed ice level mix. There are way, WAY too many! But I can post about a million remixes of Ice Cap Zone! It’s one of the most remixed game songs ever.

IceCapped is by McVaffe! IceCap Zone (Frozen Knuckles Mix) is by Rayza! Ice Attack is by Trance-Canada! Hot Ice is by DarkeSword! Snow Motion is by SkyHigh! Memories Frozen in Time is by DCT and Just Us! Eastern Ice Field is by Big Giant Circles! Breaking the Ice is by DigiE! Snowboardin’ Sonic is by Willrock! Ice Cap Zone Rescue is by Beckett007!  Thinking Cap is by Platonist! Snowy Caps is by JD Harding! Ice Cold Retro is by Joshua Morse!

And don’t forget to get the Obligatory Ice Level Day Soundtracks! They’re here, here, here, and here!

Oh and while we’re at it, take a look at this fine tune titled Ice Cave, from TheAmazingBrandO’s album Songs From a Video Game That Doesn’t Exist. BrandO e-mailed me at the last minute about this, and you know what? I like it so much that I think it more than deserves to be included! Thanks, BrandO! :D

So yep, I think that’ll do for now for the Obligatory Ice Level Days. I know a lot of people sent in suggestions, and I’m sorry I couldn’t use all of them this time around! A bunch of scheduling stuff came up and it ate away my time like a leopard seal on cereal. That said, I plan on making next year’s WAY BIGGER! Hopefully the coming year will allow for that to happen.

PLEASE tune in to the Sonic marathon! It’s this Friday, and we’ll be playing a ton of Sonic games. I honestly haven’t touched a few of these games in like two decades, so it’ll be interesting to see how my playthroughs will turn out! Either way we’ll have lots of stunts and prizes for you all, so help us help the Rockin’ H Ranch help other charities!

OILD Day 9: Himalayas

Hello again! Have you been enjoying all the ice levels? I hope so! You know what I love? Cartoons! And games! And ducks! And money! And listing things that I like on a blog, apparently! That’s why today’s ice level is the Himalayas, from DuckTales and DuckTales Remastered!

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I usually don’t do levels based on licensed games, but I’ll make an exception here. DuckTales was originally a NES game based on the popular ’80s cartoon, which in turn was based on the old Scrooge McDuck comics. The plot to the original game was merely “get all the treasure,” and then you were pretty much done. But then surprisingly, all these years later, we got a remake! In DuckTales Remastered, there’s more of an actual story, written in the tone of the original show. In the remake, Scrooge and his friends look for different treasures, but it’s revealed that the treasures were the necessary components of Magica DeSpell’s evil curse to revive a vampire known as Dracula Duck.

In the NES game, the Himalayas were known for being the one level where Scrooge couldn’t use his inexplicably pogo-stick-esque cane. If you tried to bounce, you’d get stuck in the snow! The level was also full of sneaky snow rabbits and WAY TOO MANY GOATS. You could also find Bubba the Caveduck frozen in the ice, and freeing him got you a special reward. In the remake, the level gets a little more complex. Scrooge’s pilot Launchpad crashes their plane (as usual), and it’s up to Scrooge to find the missing pieces so the plane can be fixed. There’s slidey ice, duck hockey players, and oh yeah, WAY TOO MANY GOATS. In both versions, the boss is a yeti. In the original, the yeti’s pretty small, and only bounces around and punches the walls, causing snowballs to fall. In the remake, the yeti is massive. It still causes ice to fall, but this time Scrooge has to knock rocks into giant ice cubes that are stuck to the ceiling. Doing so will cause the ice to fall on the yeti, thus damaging it. In the end, it turns out the yeti was just upset because she had something–the level’s treasure–embedded in her foot.

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Adequate number of ducks, way too many goats.

And music! The Himalayas is the stage theme for the NES version of DuckTales! And here’s the DuckTales Remastered version!

Man, did you know that almost nobody’s ever remixed the Himalaya theme? That’s ridiculous! I did find this piano mix by pianist203, but that’s about it. So let’s get some other mixes in there! BITE is a remix of the Ice Path from Pokemon Gold and Silver, and it’s by Benjamin Briggs! Snowflakes in her Hair is a remix of Snowpoint City from Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, and it’s by Blue Magic! And the Retro Remix Revue has a nice mix of Iceberg, from Kirby’s Dream Land 3!

It’s been a fun ride so far, but we’ll just have to wait and see what comes next! I’m pretty tired, honestly, since I’ve been playing a bit for the marathon. Speaking of which, hope you can stop by and watch me fail horribly at Sonic games!

OILD Day 8: Trabia

Man, we’re getting closer to the marathon! Can you wait? No? Of course not! It’s going to be “way past cool,” as the kids say these days! Anyway, as you know, for the past few months Toast has been streaming on Fridays, and it’s been quite a ride! He’s almost done with his game, but it’s still been pretty funny and fun watching him go through the whole story. That’s why today’s ice level is Trabia, from Final Fantasy 8!

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So, Final Fantasy 8… how to even explain the story here. Well, it stars Squall, the leader of a team of teenage mercenaries who use magical gods(???) as weapons. They’re sent out to take down a sorceress, who turns out to be a DIFFERENT sorceress from the future. Also they play card games. Also they inhabit the minds of people in the past. Also the moon cries monsters. Oh and the kids actually grew up together in the same orphanage, but they forgot all about that because [INSUFFICIENT EXPLANATION] PS, Time Compression.

Trabia is a big, snowy continent to the north. It may be big, but there’s actually very few inhabitants on there. Mainly you’ll only find weird beastly people called Shumis, and adorable little fluffy lion-creatures called Moombas. Oh, sure, there used to be people here, but they were teenage mercenaries studying in Trabia Garden. And you know what? Squall’s ragtag gang of dopey teens were somehow unable to prevent the sorceress from shooting giant eyeball-missiles at the school and blowing it to anime-colored smithereens. GG, gang! There are a few monsters you can fight here, plus some forests where you can catch a Chocobo to ride. Well… at least the Chocobos survived the horrible missile strike, I guess!

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“IMMA PUNCH THE ENERGY DRINKS RIGHT OUTTA THIS MONSTER’S SKATEBOARD!… HOT DOGS!” “Like, omg Squall, we can totally like, beat this huge beast up with our fists and nunchucks and… whatever that thing you use is! lolflcopter!!”

Lots of music today! Mines of Narshe is from Final Fantasy 6! Buried in Snow is from Final Fantasy 7!  Where I Belong is from Final Fantasy 8! Ice Cavern is from Final Fantasy 9! People of the North Pole is from Final Fantasy 10! Seeking Power is from Final Fantasy 12! And Chocobo’s Happy Christmas is from the Chocobo’s Mysterious Dungeon soundtrack!

And some remixes! Following Forgotten is a remix of Mines of Narshe, and it’s by Patrick Burns! Light and Flakey is a remix of Buried in Snow, by Heath Morris! Battle in the Far North is a remix of People of the North Pole, and it’s by The Griever! And while this isn’t a fanmix and isn’t quite an ice level, Square did put out a holiday album remixing a few tunes from their games, and their remix of Wind Scene from Chrono Trigger is just plain fun!

Ah, so many memories. I really like reliving some of the fun we had this year with these ice levels! Will there be more reminiscing tomorrow. Probably!

OILD Day 7: Glacius’ Ice Temple

Another day, another ice level! We’re now a week in, and less than a week until the Sonic marathon! And I’m also in a pretty silly mood. I love the needlessly elaborate and absurd backstories in fighting games, you see. The sillier, the better. That’s why today’s ice level is Glacius’ Ice Temple, from Killer Instinct!

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Oh man, Killer Instinct. In the ’90s, there were a ton of goofy fighting games. Street Fighter started things off, but Mortal Kombat’s controversial violence provoked other studios into jumping in on the scene. Rareware decided to try their hand at the genre with Killer Instinct, a game that tosses every random thing the kids were into those days into a fighting tournament: Ninja! Robot! Raptor! Werewolf! Skeleton! Girl! The premise was pretty straightforward: Ultratech, your standard evil supercorporation, was holding a fighting tournament for nefarious purposes. The winner got some stupid reward, and then a cutscene happens and you find out you’re missing six months’ worth of allowance in quarters. It’s also the source of the phrase “C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!!!” so y’know, that’s a rich legacy on its own. Honestly I find a lot of stuff in KI to be hilarious because even though it looked cool at the time, the designs are just silly now. Go ahead and look up the original renders for the game’s characters. The anatomy is pretty bizarre.

As with most fighting games, each character go their own stage, and one of those characters was Glacius. Glacius was an alien! Made of ice! Because… ??? His spaceship crash landed onto Earth, where Ultratech promptly captured him and forced him to fight a collection of freaky weirdos. Normally I’d blame their behavior on them being evil, but come on, if you found an ice alien in your backyard, wouldn’t YOU be curious as to whether or not he could beat up a champion boxer? Being made of(??) ice, Glacius had a lot of cold-themed moves and attacks, but mostly he was known for morphing his arms and body into different shapes. His finishing moves were kind of confusing though. In one, he melted into a puddle, then slid under the opponent and that… somehow melted them too? In another he touches them with his morphed hand and they… change color and die? I guess he’s freezing them with his AWESOME 90s RENDERING POWERS!!! And then there’s whatever this is.

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Hey, you know the rules. Every year I get to have one level put in purely as a goof.

Now for some music! Controlling Transmission is Glacius’ theme from Killer Instinct. But just for fun, here’s Frozen Ray from Keyboardmania, and Snow Storm from Beatmania IIDX! And Glacial Fortress, from Omega Five!

And here’s a remix! Neon Glaciers is a remix of Glacial Fortress by Mattias Haggstrom Gerdt, and it’s a mix I keep coming back to because it really sticks in your head!

Tomorrow’s another big day! I hope you’ll tune in and see what it is, just like I hope you tune in to the Sonic marathon in a few days!

OILD Day 6: Snowball Park

Day 6 is here! Well, we’ve had some nice little games shown so far, but now it’s time to show off some big stars. And it’s a level from a game I had a ton of fun playing not too long ago!  Today’s Obligatory Ice Level is Snowball Park, from Super Mario 3D World!

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Super Mario 3D World. Do I really have to introduce this game? Probably not, but I’m going to anyway! This is essentially a multiplayer equivalent of Super Mario 3D Land. The stages are large obstacle courses full of dangerous traps, treacherous terrain, and lots of enemies. But on the plus side, you do get some neat power-ups, most notably the Super Bell, which gives you all the powers of a cartoon cat. Plus the music is really good!

Snowball Park is the first stage in World 3, which has a general snow theme. This stage is known for being full of SNOW POKEYS. What’s a Snow Pokey? Well, it’s like that classic cactus enemy, the Pokey, only made of snow! And just like a snowman, naturally it wears a fez on its head. Call it a “bucket” all you want, but it’s so totally a fez. There’s also a lot of slippery ice, which can be quite a problem when there are four players who are constantly running into each other anyway. But you know what else this level has? Goombas in ice skates! Seriously! They’re just riding around in giant ice skates! It’s awesome! And what’s more, you can defeat the Goombas and steal the skate for yourself! The skate’s kind of hard to control, but it’s really fun and pretty hilarious looking.

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GOOMBAS! ON! IIIIIICE!

Music? You want music? Well I’m pretty sure I got you covered there! Freezeflame Galaxy‘s icy theme from Super Mario Galaxy is nice and serene. Likewise, Freezy Flake Galaxy from Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a sweet little tune! The Snow Overworld theme from New Super Mario Bros. U is really catchy, so much so that event he baby Yoshis sing along to it! And of course we can’t forget Snowball Park‘s theme! And on top of that, here’s Frappe Snowland from Mario Kart 64!

And for a remix, I really like this guitar rendition of Frappe Snowland, by CSGuitar89! It’s a simple, but wonderful take on this classic tune.

So what will tomorrow’s ice level be? Will it be from a famous game, a forgotten gem, or an obscure new title that needs more love? Guess you have to just wait and see!

OILD Day 5: Blue Cave

Well hello you kids! It’s the fifth Obligatory Ice Level Day. As I promised, this is a level from a game you probably have! That is… if you were watching the marathons earlier this year. Near the beginning of the year, we had a marathon all about indie games. And in that marathon, we got to interview some of the developers of those fine games. Plus, we got to work with  Humble Bundle and gave everyone a chance to own a ton of great games, all for a good cause! That’s why today’s ice level is the “Blue Cave,” from Mutant Mudds!

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The story to Mutant Mudds cuts right to the chase: You star as Max, a nerdy kid with a jetpack (as most nerds have), and you arm yourself with a water gun in a heroic attempt to save the world from, what else? Giant evil alien mud mutant-creatures! The game is clearly very retro, but it has a really fun mechanic where you can jump into different background elements. It’s pretty great and you should totally check it out! But then again, you probably already have, since it was part of the TSG Humble Bundle!

I admit, I pretty much drew the card for this stage the moment I hit the first icy cave. And it shows up pretty quickly! The floor is really slippery, which can be a huge problem if you’re not careful. Fortunately, Max’s jetpack makes things easier for you. There are quite a few instant-death spikes, but again, just make use of that jetpack! And try to not slide right into the deadly spikes! Simple as that, right? These caves have no real name as far as I know, so I just call them “Blue Caves” because they’re… blue… and caves… yeah!

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BLOOOOSH!!!

So what’s today’s music? Well hmm… how about Ice Cave Chant, from Donkey Kong Country? That was always a favorite of mine, really. And hey, it’s also from a frozen cavern!

And for today’s remix, try out Christmas Cave, an Ice Cave Chant remix by Deimos!

Curious about tomorrow’s level? You should be! And you should also be spreading the word about the Sonic marathon! We’ll be playing a ton of Sonic games Dec. 12-15, raising money for the Rockin’ H Ranch! Hope to see you there!

OILD Day 4: Holiday Hare

Well hi! You know, we’re doing a Sonic marathon later this month. And well, I feel that during this special Obligatory Ice Level Day, we need to respect the legacy Sonic left behind. A legacy of fast games, wonderful music, adorable graphics, but mostly… an army of copycat mascot characters. That’s why today’s ice level is Holiday Hare, from Jazz Jackrabbit!

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Okay, you have to admit you didn’t see this one coming. If you actually remember Jazz Jackrabbit, then I’m honored that you took time out of your busy haunting schedule to read this, ancient souls from beyond the grave. This  game was made by, no fooling, Cliffy B. Yes, the BulletStorm guy. And I’m pretty sure it was animated by the guy who made Dust. Anyway, it starred a green jackrabbit. Oh, but not just any rabbit! This was a rad-to-the-max rabbit with ‘tude flowing though his bodacious veins! He’s got a headband! And a laser gun! Because ’90s! And he’s going to run at the speed of light and blast everything in sight in his quest to–rescue a princess and save the world? Seriously? That old routine? Hey, it beats doing homework, I guess. Am I right, kids? Eh? Ehhh?

So Holiday Hare wasn’t just one level, but rather two free demos the team put out in 1994 and 1995. The ’94 version had its own map and holiday-themed backgrounds and music, but the enemies were from the full version of the game. The ’95 game had a snow level and a toy-themed level, plus they made new enemies just for this demo. Plus there were giant pieces of candy, collectible candy canes, and parodies of the Energizer Bunny. Because ’90s.

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BECAUSE! 90S! YEEAAHHH!!

So are you ready for the music from these games? I’m not sure if you are. Holiday Hare Level 1 is honestly just a medley of holiday music. But in .MOD format! ’90s! Candion is a hip, way-totally-cool-to-the-max version of the Carol of the Bells, and Bloxonius is… wait for it… a hip-hop version of The Little Drummer Boy. Because ’90s. Hmm, you know what? I think I’ll add Blizzard Buffalo from Mega Man X3, just so we have at least one video game creature that isn’t oozing ‘tude from its ears and eyes.

Actually, that’s a good idea! Because The Leidenfrost Effect is a really good Blizzard Buffalo remix by Level 99 and Hemophiliac! You can download it (and other great MMX mixes) from here!

So ok, today’s level was pretty obscure. But tomorrow’s is definitely from a much more famous game! And chances are it’s a game you may have even  gotten this year! What could it be? HMMMM…

OILD Day 3: The Wilderness

Day 3! I hope everyone’s excited for the Sonic marathon, because I sure am! And I’m also excited to show you the latest Ice Level. See, sometimes you just want to break free and go your own way. You want to make your own custom characters and levels. I for one can totally relate to that! That’s why today’s ice level is The Wilderness, from LittleBigPlanet!

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LittleBigPlanet is an adorable sidescroller starring little dot-eyed sackpeople. The world is equally cute, with most of the art being based on found objects, sculptures, and other doodads making up the stages. While there is indeed a story mode, the game really prides itself on its customization. Dress your sackpeople however you want! Make your own stages and send them to your friends! It’s all gravy here on LittleBigPlanet!

The Wilderness isn’t entirely ice, but the first part of it is. When your little Sackperson is teleported there, they need to hop onto a rocketsled, pulled by a wooden dog. It’s pretty cute watching that sled slide over icy hills made of glass! After that, there’s a big cavern full of icy platforms that seem to be made of clay. What’s more, there are clay icicles that can fall from the ceiling and hurt you! But that’s fine, because of those icicles also become useful platforms as well. The sackpeople’s ultimate goal is to get inside a bunker, complete with toy soldiers and tanks. The inside of the bunker itself isn’t that frosty, but this is clearly set in an icy stage!

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“Oh wow you can dress the Sackboy up as a penguin?! EEEE” –Me

Music time! The Wilderness is the theme for this stage, and it’s pretty sweet. And just for fun, here’s Northern Country Kamui, from Okami! And Oki, also from Okami!

As for a remix, here’s a lovely guitar mix of Oki’s theme, by Jam2995!

Did you guess today’s ice level? Do you think you’ll be able to guess tomorrow’s? Maybe you will! Don’t forget to spread the word about the marathon too!

OILD Day 2: Ice Climber

Hello again! It’s Day 2 of Obligatory Ice Level Day! You might say to yourself “wait… Day 2 of… the day… what?” And the answer to that is, “who cares?! It’s fun!” If I say a day can last over a week, then it shall be done! Anyway, today’s ice level is a whole game. We were recently blessed with the release of Smash Bros. for the 3DS and Wii U. But sadly, an old character–or should I say a pair of characters–from Melee and Brawl couldn’t return in this installment. That’s why today we honor those missing heroes with today’s level: ICE CLIMBER!

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Ah, Ice Climber. What an… interesting choice of physics. So for those of you who don’t know, this game really is just one giant ice level. Yes, even those green and orange blocks are ice. That makes sense, right? The object of the game was to guide either of the two climbers (Popo was a guy in blue, Nana was a girl in pink) to the top of the mountain and grab onto an albatross flying above the stage. The biggest obstacles were the dangerous polar bears, the ice-shuffling Topis, and Popo and Nana’s inability to properly jump horizontally. Seriously, try playing this game. These kids can’t longjump for beans. Speaking of food, there were also a ton of fruits strewn about this oddly multi-colored glacier, which you could grab for points! The duo were later introduced as fighters in Smash Bros. Melee, as representatives of “old school” gaming. They even had their own stages, and their Brawl stage, The Summit, was featured in the very first OILD collection I posted onto TSG! Snippets of this game were also featured in NES Remix, where you were expected to perform various feats within a time limit. And let me just say that the Ice Climber sections of NES Remix were nothing to sneeze at!

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Games do need more  cool bears, though.

And now, music! Here’s the original theme to Ice Climber! And here’s the theme to Icicle Mountain, the Ice Climbers’ Melee stage! And the theme to The Summit, the Brawl stage!

And for a remix? Why not try out Snow Cone Heaven, an Ice Climber remix by Mazedude!

There’ll be more OILD fun tomorrow! But what game will be featured? Will it be an old classic, or some new blood? Check back tomorrow and see for yourself!


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