Author Topic: Virtual Console Recommendations: Double Vector Virtual Console Update 64: Gofer No Yabou  (Read 1855 times)

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Offline NWR_Neal

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This week we feature one recent game and three other assorted Virtual Console classics as we catch up with more of our Virtual Console backlog.

 Along our path of a return to Virtual Console recommendation normalcy, we still find ourselves up to our knees in games that we missed. As we wade through this vast pool, we stumbled upon some classics that don't need any introductions (Super Mario 64), an arcade classic ported to NES (Double Dragon), the Sega Genesis' Donkey Kong Country (Vectorman), and an import Gradius game seeing its first standalone release in North America.    

As per usual, please leave any recommendations in the talkback thread. Before you repeat anything, your pleas for Secret of Mana and Shining Force II have been heard and they should be up within the next week or two. Until then, courage.    


Gradius II: Gofer no Yabou – TG16CD

 Gradius II - TG16CD  

 Cost: 900 Wii Points ($9)
  Players: 1
  Controllers: Wii Remote, Wii Classic, GameCube
  ESRB Rating: Everyone


 Now available for the first time as a standalone release in North America, Gradius II: Gofer no Yabou will nonetheless feel very familiar to fans of the series' Super NES outing, Gradius III. Gradius II contains the same classic side-scrolling shooter gameplay and familiar level themes (those evil Easter Island heads just keep coming back for more) found in its elder and younger brothers, but the fidelity of this TurboGrafx16 CD conversion delivers high-quality audio along with much smoother gameplay than that offered by Gradius III for Super NES.  


 Recommended for Fans There is an impressive array of customisation options available, including variable difficulty settings, number of lives and continues, and power-up combinations—though this was not implemented as comprehensively as in Gradius III. The especially rigorous challenge posed by the game's frenetic action and arcade structure can be frustrating, so the ability to tailor the experience somewhat is most welcome, and the use of the famous Konami code offers another way to get the most out of Gradius II, if necessary.    

Ultimately, there may not be very much about Gradius II that is unique, but what it does provide has seldom been done better by anything else, so franchise and genre fans will find plenty to enjoy in this vintage shooter. - Greg Leahy  



Super Mario 64 – N64

 Super Mario 64 - N64  

 Cost: 1000 Wii Points ($10)
  Players: 1
  Controllers: Wii Classic, GameCube
  ESRB Rating: Everyone
  Released: 1996


 Many people remember Super Mario 64 as their first venture into the realm of 3D gaming. The freedom to  walk, run, slide, jump, and fly around in elaborate virtual worlds whose construction allows for movement in all three dimensions was unprecedented when the game came out as a launch title for the N64 in late 1996. Downloading the game for the Virtual Console is unlikely to foster the same kind of excitement and awe, but fortunately there are so many other reasons why Super Mario 64 is an absolute must-have title.  


 Recommended for Everyone The game is filled with memorable moments. Whether you're helping a baby penguin get reunited with his mother, racing Koopa Troopa to the summit of a mountain, flinging Bowser into huge bombs, butt-stomping giant Boos, or simply transforming into Metal Mario, you almost constantly get bombarded with interesting things to do. The mission-based structure, in which Princess Peach's castle acts as a hub from which levels are entered through pictures on the walls, is what allows for this huge amount of variety. The game’s impeccable controls coupled with beautiful art direction - that still holds up today - simply serves to further cement Super Mario 64's status as an undisputed classic. - Lasse Pallesen  



Double Dragon - NES

 Double Dragon - NES  

 Cost: 500 Wii Points ($5)
  Players: 1-2 (Alternating)
  Controllers: Wii Remote, Wii Classic, GameCube
  ESRB Rating: Everyone (Mild Violence)
  Released: 5/1988


 Double Dragon is the continuation of the previously released Renegade for the NES. Presumably the "double" moniker in the game title is derived from the fact that now two characters, Billy and Jimmy, are pursuing the Shadow Boss; unfortunately for NES gamers, the 2-Player cooperative feature isn't in the game's port from the arcades. Regardless, players can still play in a 2-player setting ala Super Mario Bros., with each player taking a turn until they die.  


 Recommended for Fans Though beat’em-ups lend themselves to being most enjoyable (and beatable) when playing with a friend, Double Dragon does a fairly apt job at modifying that experience for just one player. The game consists of four mission of several levels each, with a boss fight at each mission’s close. Each level has players progressing from left to right defeating all enemies (with a maximum of two on the screen at a time) using their fists or weapons, which enemies bring onto the screen with them. As players complete levels they earn new moves, and in turn the game becomes more challenging to balance that move set, giving the game a slightly RPG-ish feel.    

Double Dragon also offers players a B Mode, which is a tournament fighter for either one or two players. In this mode players are on a static screen and simply use the core mechanics of the game, including weapons to battle until one of the opponents' health bars reach zero.    

All in all, Double Dragon is still an enjoyable experience 20 years later regardless of its simplicity and lack of two-player cooperative mode. Oh yeah, and how can I forget Abobo? Who couldn't love a face like that?  - Nick DiMola  


Vectorman – Sega Genesis

 Vectorman - SG  

 Cost: 800 Wii Points ($8)
  Players: 1-2
  Controllers: Wii Remote, Wii Classic, GameCube
  ESRB Rating: Teen (Animated Blood and Violence)


 Vectorman was the Genesis’ answer to Donkey Kong Country, as it used a similar graphical trick to pixelize 3D character models. In some ways, Vectorman does it better, because the hero’s movements have a certain weight and subtlety that’s lacking in DKC.  


 Recommended for Everyone The backgrounds aren’t nearly as beautiful, though, and Vectorman is an entirely different game. It’s more of a sidescroller-shooter, like Contra, while DKC is a straight-up platformer. This is not to say it’s a bad game, though—it’s quite good. The difficulty level can be irritating at times, and the screen isn’t as zoomed out as I would’ve liked. Still, Vectorman has some interesting tricks up his sleeve that elevate this game above the norm. First, he can transform into a variety of gadgets like a plane or a drill. Second, Vectorman can temporarily upgrade his weaponry to include some pretty cool types.    

My main gripe with the game is the fact that you can’t continue after losing all your lives. 1-ups and extra energy capsules (basically heart containers) only help so much, especially when the difficulty ramps up as you get further into the game. Level memorization becomes tantamount to your success.    

It may seem like I’m bashing Vectorman, but you should know that, despite its difficulty and minor flaws, it’s still a wonderful game that looks great and features some really unique gameplay. I consider it one of the best Genesis games ever made, so you should definitely give it a shot. - Zachary Miller  


Special thanks to the Video Game Museum for screenshots

Neal Ronaghan
Director, NWR

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