June 2008 Archives
Japanese RPG Fans Rejoice — How Can a VC Update Get Better Than This?
24 June 2008 7:38 pm

Look again at those gorgeous title screens and take it in. Fo realz! Two of the greatest RPGs for their respective consoles. And please don't mind the difference in size of the title shots. It's just a difference in resolution and my lack of tolerence for white space. We all saw Phantasy Star IV coming, but The Nintendo/Square joint project is a shocker. How can you explain it? Well, I suspect that since the game is based on Nintendo characters, to which Nintendo owns the rights, they were able to force Square's hand in this release. Had the decision been purely in Square's ball court, I suspect that they would have created an updated DS version of the game and resold it to fans rather than give us the original at a bargain price. I love Square games, but they get my vote for least enthusiastic VC contributor.

There are also two other games for this update, but who cares? Fine, I'll humor you. Paranoia (known as Psychosis outside Japan) isn't a terrible shoot 'em up for the TurboGrafx-16, but in light of all the other awesome schmups for this console it is hopelessly outclasses and extraneous. Ninja Commando is a run 'n gun that never taps the potential of the Neo Geo hardware, but it earns extra points for amusingly cheesiness and some interesting gameplay elements. Watching ninjas and commandos fight the likes of axe-wielding barbarians and an Egyptian-themed boss is hilarious in an anachronistic sort of way. And there's one cool move where you—even the non-ninja characters—do flips to dart away, and you can throw large shurikens at the same time.
Monkey Boy Trumps Boring Brawlers in North American VC Update
23 June 2008 12:07 am

What makes this game so different is than the likes of Super Mario bros. is that you punch enemies rather than hop on them, and there are some parts of stages where you actually pilot various vehicles, like a motorcycle and hellicopter. Overall, it's quite strange, but that's part of the charm of this Kidd.

Burning Fight for the Neo Geo is a wretched beat 'em up. Think Final Fight and Street's of Rage but suck out all of the creativity and any sort of combat complexity. Then sprinkle in a story that manages to be even more lackluster than the thin plots that exist in the aforementioned games.

European VC Update Guaranteed Not to Fill Up Your Wii
28 June 2008 11:10 pm

That's precisely how many Wii games Europe, Australia, and New Zealand received. I understand that this sort of thing may happen once in a while. BUT THIS IS THE SECOND TIME IN THE LAST THREE UPDATES! Sure, the one and only update smack in the middle did include five titles, but why not space them out a little bit?

I suppose that WiiWare is there to pick up the slack, but there are still so many awesome VC games that need to make their way into our virtual game libraries. There have been some decent WiiWare titles so far, LostWinds being the critical darling, but overall the quality of titles is pretty uneven.

Give us more VC games!

Come on, big N!

Oh, and I know that this is being picky, but how about bringing more good and great VC games. Don't bother with crap like Burning Fight or Ninja Combat.

Excellent Releases on Japanese Virtual Console
17 June 2008 6:49 pm

This is what the VC is all about! Three games—all of them quite good and from totally different genres and developers. I love it. Blazing Lazers is one of the best shoot 'em ups for the console, created by the once-mighty Compile.

Ryuuko no Ken 2 (known outside Japan as Art of Fighting 2) improves substantially over the original—well worth checking out if you like the fighting genre, but falling short of being one of Neo Geo's legendary contributions to the genre.

Nekkestu Koukou Dodgeball Bu represents Technos' unique take on the sport of tagging opponents with balls. Characters have that distinctive super-deformed look, and while it can't compete with River City Ransom, it remains one of Technos' best games.

North America Gets an Awesome Neo Geo Fighter on the Virtual Console
It's About Time!

16 June 2008 6:11 pm

Samurai Shodown gets my nod for the greatest start to a Neo Geo fighting franchise, especially considering that it was such an early release—1993! It has it all. Original characters with distinct fighting styles. Weapon-based combat. There's even blood; miraculously Nintendo opted to release the uncut more gorey version.

This is easily a Hells Yeah download. The sequel is even better, so hopefully that will make its way to the VC sometime...

Lucky Friday the 13th Strikes PAL Territories
Five New Games for the Virtual Console!

13 June 2008 7:24 pm

Last week, Europeans, Aussies, and Kiwis received a jelly-filled doughnut (0) from Nintendo. This week, the BIG N attempts to make ammends with five new titles. Of course, the catch is that if you're outside Europe, then you only get three, because Commodore 64 games aren't making their way to Australia and New Zealand. Go regionalism. NOT! Alex Kidd in Miracle World for the Sega Master System. Many diehard fans consider this to easily be one of the best platformers for the console, even rivaling the Sonic games. For the same price you can buy Super Mario Bros. 3, and Kidd is hopelessly outclassed by comparison. But give Monkey Boy a chance. The vertical levels, combined with horizontal ones, varios vehicles (hello hellicopter!), and eccentricity in general make this title well worth your time.

Let's shift gears and look at the two computer games. The Last Ninja 2: Back With a Vengeance features a soundtrack that does the Commodore 64 proud. You've got the same blend of exploration, item gathering, and combat that made the original so great, only your world is larger and therefore more challenging. Quite good, but note quite a must download. Then there's Nebulus (known in the US as Tower Toppler), a rather innovative platformer. Instead of scrolling across the screen, here your character is always center-screen as you wind your way around the outside of a tower that rotates according to your movement. The enemies are a little bland, and the music doesn't take advantage of the C64's capabilities, but shoot 'em up mini-stages make this fresh approach even, well, fresher.

Rounding out the massive selection (especially if you're in Europe) are two Neo Geo titles. Ninja Combat is a poorly designed beat 'em up that sets the bar for shallow gameplay in a genre that is neither known for depth or complexity. Fatal Fury 2 is better but remains a woefully average fighter, considering how the Neo Geo dominated this genre.

Winds of Thunder Arrives On Japan's VC At Last
10 June 2008 7:57 pm

I have so many complaints about Japanese VC titles that need to make it beyond the land of the rising sun, yet the Japanese—who love shoot 'em ups—are the last to receive the phenomenal Winds of Thunder (a.k.a. Lords of Thunder). Go figure. No matter how many shoot 'em ups you already downloaded, this TG-CD title is well worth the Wii points.

Yoshi no Cookie is an ok puzzler for the NES. While it attempts to be Tetris with a twist, it can't compete with the legendary game of falling blocks. Puzzling? Yes. Cute? Yes? Worth your Wii points? Probably not.

Finally, we have Transformers: Convoy no Nazo for the NES. Bet you've never heard of that one. You're probably well aware of the fact that movie games almost always suck. Well, this one is no different. Avoid this at all costs.

Two Import Games Inflate North American Virtual Console Library
9 June 2008 8:03 pm

Originally released in the arcade in 1982, Dig Dug has gone down in history as a cult classic maze game. Like Boulder Dash, you tunnel through levels and can crush enemies with rocks, but in this case you're also armed with a harpoon. While it has a short-range and can only puncture one enemy at a time, additional button presses inflate the enemy and ultimately cause it to explode.

This is a faithful NES port. Nevertheless, it's also a first-gen NES game and looks the part. You're not going to find any impressive hardware feats here. Surprisingly, the NES Dig Dug port was never released outside of Japan. Funny then that now Americans get this VC title before the Japanese. Not so funny is the 100 Wii point import surcharge on a title that required zero translation and/or localization. With many other Dig Dug versions already available on all sorts of platforms, and the unnecessary extra expense, I have to give this title a walk the plank rating.

When I gave Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa, I liked it but wasn't thrilled. Well, I played it some more today, and now it's actually quite excellent. While level 1-1 merely looks like an above average platformer, level 1-2 changes everything. Gone is the ability to jump and instead you have to burrow through levels (like in the Dig Dug). Upa's baby rattle also inflates enemy's like a certain well-known harpoon.

Sadly, Upa never made an appearance outside of Japan, and I applaud Nintendo for releasing such a bizarre, this-could-only-be-made-in-Japan, title. Top marks. Next I want to see Yume Penguin Monogatari, which was also made by Konami, probably the greatest creator of zany games during the era.

New Additions to the Greatest TG-CD Games List
8 June 2008 9:21 pm
Baby Rattles the Competition on Japan's Virtual Console
4 June 2008 8:40 pm

This NES Platformer is anything but typical. The graphics and sound may not rock your world, but gameplay comes to the rescue. Your rattle weapon gives you the option of kicking your enemies (like turtles in Super Mario Bros.), or using them as a platforms to float upwards. The Neo Geo continues it's overall trend of sub-par games with King of Monsters. While the concept of two Godzilla-like creatures battling it out in a city and tramping their surroundings has much potential, this game feels clumsy and the graphics are very ho-hum.

The Sega Master System's Ashura (aka Rambo: First Blood Part II, or Secret Command) is a run 'n gun in the style of Ikari Warriors, but there just isn't enough originality to save the aged look and sound. Rounding out the variety is Power Tennis for the TG-16. The gameplay is actually fairly solid, but it never begins to tap the sound and graphical potential of the console it was originally developed for.
Updated TG-CD Greatest Games List
4 June 2008 1:09 am

I so should be sleeping right now, and I know that I'm gong to hate myself in the morning. Anyway, I just wanted to let y'all know that I've updated the TG-CD page. I added a bunch of games: Ai Chou Aniki, Chiki Chiki Boys, Cotton, Syd Mead's Terra Forming.

World Heroes 2, blew me away. It is clearly one of the best fighting games ever released for the TG-16/CD, rivaled only by Street Fighter II, which was released on a ludicrously large hucard. Ironically, the TG-CD port of this game is better than most of the fighting games that are currently available on the Virtual Console. No doubt the Neo Geo version is better, but how long will we have to wait for it to appear on the VC?

Even Ninja's Can't Sneak This One Past The Critics
Pathetic Solo Update for the VC in North America

2 June 2008 8:26 pm

Don't mix up your ninjas on the Neo Geo. Ninja Commando is actually pretty fun, but Ninja Combat is an extremely crappy beat 'em up. How bad? Well, imagine a game where your normal attack is a ranged spread shot, but when you pick up a weapon (like nunchucks or a katana) you get stuck with a short-range attack and you lose the ability to jump. I'm not kidding. Ninja Combat represents some of the worst gameplay I've ever seen for the genre.

Download Toki Tori, a cute puzzle game, for WiiWare instead.

June 2008 Archives