November 2009
November Virtual Console Highlights — MSX Resurgent and Neo Geo CD!!!
30 November 2009 9:45 pm
At long last! Super Mario Kart makes it to American VC shores. About frickin' time! While the single player gameplay may feel a little dated by today's standards, the multiplayer action still holds up quite well. Indeed, some people maintain that this is the best installment in the entire franchise. Indiana Jones represents another excellent platformer/adventure game, yet another reason why LucasArts support of the VC is a boon to Wii owners.

Though Solomon's Key and Street Fighter II have been seen many times before, these two installments have their distinctions. Not surprisingly, the arcade version of Solomon's Key is superior to the already available NES version. On the other hand, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition for the TurboGrafx-16 is an insanely successful demonstration of just how far the TG-16's 8-bit processor could be pushed. While some contend that the "true 16-bit" ports are superior, the differences are pretty minor. Factor in that you can own the TG-16 version for a few hundred Wii points less than its rivals and you have a highly underrated bargain of a port.

I saved the best for last. Not only did Nintendo introduce a whole new console, the Neo Geo CD, but it also relaunched the MSX. Ironclad is a gorgeous shoot 'em up, one of the best for the Neo Geo, period. Rather rare these days, having it easily accessibly and affordable on the VC is fantastic. Turning to the MSX, Konami treats VC fans to two very different and quite excellent titles. Penguin Adventure happens to be the first game that now legendary Hideo Kojima worked on. It represents an excellent and cute—duh!—blend of platformer/adventure action. Finally, Space Manbow is a shoot 'em up. That plus Konami? Need I say more?
Stuff Looks and Reads Better — Not That You Noticed...
19 November 2009 9:31 pm
No major updates lately, but I have been jazzing lots of things up behind the scenes. For example, I scrubbed the box art for the Genesis and SNES lists, making sure that everything was in the highest resolution I could find, and replaced some bad rip-offs of eBay sales with quality scans. I also added an introduction to the top 10 fighters list. Other than that, I'm working on various new features, uncluding a Sega CD box art comparison.

For those readers who like obscure video games, I've got a little quiz for you. ShadowWraith? Ring any bells? Well, I recently tracked down the .mod music for this gem of an obscurity, and now I'm listening to it daily. One of these days I might even need to make a foray outside of my niche and take a closer look at this computer game—at least its music.
Axelay and Ranger X Blast Into Top 10 Lists
16 November 2009 1:07 am
No matter how hard I try, I'm never totally happy with any of the top 10 lists, probably because there's no such thing as a perfect top 10 list. So every list I upload is basically a fluid entity, and it's time for a little adjustment. I recently put in a proper playtest session with Axelay and—Damn!—that game is good. Vertical and horizontal levels. One of the best weapon systems ever implemented in the genre. Fantastic bosses with original attacks, like the laser web below which consticts your ship's movement. Axelay has been long overdue to make the top 10 shoot 'em up list. Ranger X may look like a shoot 'em up, with the thruster sending your hero into the air below, but it's actually more of a run 'n gun. The combination of short aerial hops, having an independent vehicle that assists you on each level, plus a secondary weapon that you can switch from within your secondary vehicle makes for some of the richest gameplay ever seen in the genre. That it deserves to make the run 'n gun top 10 list is without question.
Genesis/Mega Drive Box Art — Japan Maintains its Artistic Edge
7 November 2009 5:45 pm
The debate over whether or not video games can be art continues to rage today. At a minimum, though, we can all agree that what's contained on the front of a video game box is a piece of art. This art may be designed to sell a given game, but it's, nevertheless, subject to all the analysis and criticism that any art piece would be. Consider how one game's box art varies across regions and the debate becomes even more interesting. Hot on the heels of the similar TuroGrafx-16 feature, I present a comparison of Sega Genesis/Mega Drive box art.
November 2009 Archives