Author Topic: Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round A: NES VC)  (Read 876 times)

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Offline Bungle4

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Best of the Wii U eShop (Bonus Round A: NES VC)
« on: January 24, 2021, 03:30:55 PM »
The Wii U eShop will only be open for a limited time so it is worth looking at the games there while there is still time to buy them. In the past few months we looked at all the available eShop games, but we omitted the Virtual Console releases, until now! Nintendo introduced the Virtual Console (VC) with Wii as a way to sell games from previous systems a la carte. That same service continued with Wii U and 3DS before being replaced with a Netflix style service bundled with the Nintendo Switch's Online membership.

The Games: Bonus Round A - NES VC
The Wii U Virtual Console kicked off in April of 2013 with much aplomb, though the Talkback thread is quite telling of the fan's response Link to NWR article. A slow and steady release of Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games followed the initial eight until 2017, leading to a total of 95 8-bit games (See full list). 94 of those titles are still available with Yoshi's Cookie being unceremoniously delisted  ???. The titles are all priced at $4.99, or $1 if you had already purchased the same title on Wii using the same account.

In addition to Wii virtual console, NES games have been available in a number of mediums. Most notably, the aforementioned Switch online membership includes access to 56 NES titles covering about half the eShop offerings (See full list). There was also the NES Classic Edition, which included 30 games (See full list), but currently sells for about $200 on the secondhand market. The 3DS also boasts an impressive virtual console that shares much in common with our games in question. Since the clock is ticking on that eShop as well, here is a short list of games not found in the other places mentioned: Bases Loaded, Clu Clu Land, Crash 'n the Boys Street Challenge, Gargoyle's Quest II, Mach Rider, Ninja Gaiden II, Ninja Gaiden III, Renegade, Spelunker, Street Fighter 2010, and Urban Champion. Finally, some third parties have taken it upon themselves to release collections that include some of these classics.
  • Mega Man Legacy Collection: includes Mega Man - Mega Man 6
  • Castlevania Anniversary Collection: includes Castlevania - Castlevania III
  • Contra Anniversary Collection: includes Super C
  • Namco Museum Archives: includes Pac-Man, Xevious, Dig Dug, and Sky Kid
Focusing just on titles not found elsewhere we are left with lean list of 21 titles with information in the following order
Game Title (developer, US release year, cartridge cost*, NWR review)
* Loose cartridge only, source:
  • Adventure Island  (Hudson Soft, 1987, $11, NWR recommended)
  • Baseball Simulator 1000 (Culture Brain, 1990, $7)
  • Dig Dug II (Namco, 1989, $8)
  • Donkey Kong Jr. Math (Nintendo, 1986, $110, NWR Not recommended)
  • Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones (Technos Japan, 1991, $10)
  • Duck Hunt (Nintendo, 1984, $10, 7.5 from NWR)
  • Earthbound Beginnings (Ape, 2015, 8 from NWR)
  • Flying Dragon: The Secret Scroll (Culture Brain, 1987, $6)
  • Flying Warriors (Culture Brain, 1991, $18)
  • Golf (Nintendo, 1984, $3)
  • Hogan's Alley (Nintendo, 1984, $6)
  • Little Ninja Brothers (Culture Brain, 1990, $54)
  • Lode Runner (Hudson Soft, 1984, $12, NWR recommended)
  • Mappy-Land (Tose, 1986, $11)
  • Pac-Land (Namco, 2014)
  • Pinball (Nintendo, 1983, $5)
  • Stinger (Konami, 1986, $9)
  • The Adventures of Bayou Billy (Konami, 1989, $5)
  • Uforia: The Saga (Sunsoft, 2014, 8 from NWR)
  • Wild Gunman (Nintendo, 1984, $28)
  • Zoda's Revenge: Star Tropics II (Nintendo, 1994, $11, NWR recommended)

The Highlights
With the exception of Donkey Kong Jr. Math (which is only for die-hard DK fans and/or Math teachers), Little Ninja Brothers (known as Super Chinese 2 in Japan), and Wild Gunman (CRT monitor required), most of the loose cartridges are still somewhat affordable. If you won't settle for less than CIB, then expect to pay double or triple these costs.

Duck Hunt, Hogan's Alley, The Adventures of Bayou Billy, and Wild Gunman all support the Wii zapper (Link to NWR article), making them unlikely to appear on future platforms. Apparently, Europeans had to wait a little longer to see if they were a crack shot  8) (Link to NWR Article).

Then we have the three titles that never made it to the NES in North America back in the day. The arcade game Pac-Land was ported to the Famicom, and was even localized for the TG-16, C64, and Lynx, but not the NES  :o Link to NWR article. It appears to be well received and inspired the eponymous stage in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Uforia: The Saga finally made it to North America with the Wii VC and was given a recommendation by the good doctor Jonathan Metts Link to Recommendation. Uforia came back with the Wii U VC and was given a full review by Neal (link in list above). Perhaps the most significant release on this list is Earthbound Beginnings. That's right, Reggie finally threw a bone to Mother fans and released the first entry in this cult series from localization limbo, spurring another decade of speculation for an official release of Mother 3 (Earthbound Endings?). That legacy came at a cost however as this is the one title to get premium pricing at $6.99.

Please comment with your thoughts on the NES VC and join me next week for a look at some super games from the successor to the NES.