January 2010
January Virtual Console Wrap-up — N64 in the Hizzouse!
31 January 2010 9:08 pm
The spotlight this month is easily stolen by the addition of another N64 title, Ogre Battle 64, another excellent installment in a very good strategy franchise. Japan also hits it big with Kirby no Kirakira Kids, a relatively unknown yet excellent puzzle game. Rounding out the presents for the Land of the Rising Sun is Salad no Kuni no Tomato Hine (a.k.a. Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom), a slick text adventure that is a throwback to Zork.

North America score big with Final Fight 3, a notable member of the Top 10 Beat 'em ups. Bringing up the rear is PAL territories finally receiving yet another Street Fighter game—the final one—known as Street Fighter Alpha 2.
The Top 10 Returns — The Best Action Adventure Games
31 January 2010 3:49 pm
It's been far too long since I've added one of these lists, but doing it right takes a lot of work, and when you manage to discover worthy candidates you also end up doing a lot of game playing rather than web coding. This list covers a nice range of systems and styles of action-adventure, but in an effort to get away from my TurboGrafx-16 and Genesis bias, I'm going to highlight some fine SNES titles you can look forward to reading more about in the Top 10 Action-Adventure Game List.
Retro Tunes — Lords of Thunder is Even Better Than You Can Imagine...
19 January 2010 8:56 pm
...If you enjoy classic metal. Even if you don't, you have to admire this red book audio. These tracks gets you so amped—perfect when you're slamming the fire button as fast as possible yet carefully preparing a special weapon deployment. This soundtrack makes my short list for best 8- or 16-bit score ever. Sure, the CD-ROM formats of the Sega CD and TurboGrafx-16 CD have an unfair advantage compared to the early 8-bit consoles, so you might think I'm biased, but it's amazing how many CD-ROM games failed to properly utilize the medium. I can run down the list of NES titles that trump most CD games—Batman, Blaster Master, Castlevania III, Just Breed, Mega Man 2—but it's so long enough that I become bored before approaching the end. I digress. Trust me, Lords of Thunder (a.k.a. Winds of Thunder) is one of those state of the art titles that retains its brilliance to this day—over 15 years later! Without further ado, I present: The music of Lords of Thunder.
Retro Tunes — Why TurboGrafx-16 Music Doesn't Suck
9 January 2010 6:05 pm
For any regular readers, my affinity for the NEC's 16-bit wonder should be well-known. I ripped some excellent music clips for some of my favorite HuCards ages ago, but at long last I've gotten around to writing a proper column to pull it all together. Check it out here.
Holiday Virtual Console Update — Final Metal Blaster and More
30 December 2009 9:20 pm 9 January 2010 1:50 am
Why the strikethrough? Well, my new computer that included all sorts or updates had to make a sudden trip to Apple's repair center. I won't bore you with the details. Just trust me that we're back on track now.

The big news of December was easily Sunsoft teaming up with Gaijinworks (founded by Victor Ireland, former President of Working Designs) to return Sunsoft titles to the North American market. Blaster Master for the Wii Virtual Console is a fantastic start. Let's hope this means we'll also receive the likes of Journey to Silius (likely), Mr. Gimmick (would technically be an import for North America), and Batman (unrealistic with licensing issues, I know).

Finally! A Final Fight game worth downloading! Final Fight Tough (a.k.a. Final Fight 3) easily ranked high in the top 10 beat 'em up list, thanks to its melding of Street Fighter II-style special moves and wonderful array of playable characters. Rounding out the truly outstanding new releases is the original Metal Gear. Not the Engrish-laden, clumsy NES port that first introduced Solid Snake to the Western world—the brilliant, complete MSX original! Sadly, since the MSX is only well-known in Japan, it's highly unlikely that this version will ever get a North American or PAL release.

Though the Virtual Console isn't exactly deprived of Street Fighter II titles, the PC-Engine Champion Edition import and the final Street Fighter II released on the SNES are staggering demonstrations of the capabilities of their respective hardware. Not only was a complete version of the legendary fighter could crammed into a hucard and able to run smoothly on the PC-Engine's 8-bit processor, it manages to rival the Genesis and SNES ports. It remains one of the most impressive hardware feats I've seen on any console. Street Fighter Alpha 2 also includes an insane amount of content, made possible by the S-DD1 graphic decompression chip. Some frames of animation had to be cut, and strangely there are load times (decompression!) before matches. Nevertheless, capturing such a massive arcade game so completely on a 16-bit cartridge is an incredible accomplishment.

Rounding out the lineup are two arcade additions. The very first installment of Sega's once-mighty Shinobi franchise is one of those games with eternal appeal. Yeah, you can see its age pretty clearly, yet it's still an absolute blast to play. You've already seen Valkyrie no Densetsu's port hit the Virtual Console in Japan. It's one of those awesome, underrated titles that no one seems to know about. While the PCE port is very good, the arcade original is even better.
January 2010 Archives