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.