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Virtual Console Mondays: May 14, 2007

by Steven Rodriguez - May 14, 2007, 10:38 pm
Total comments: 17

Do you like ninjas? Nintendo's got you covered with this week's VC lineup.

This week's theme is ninjas. Two of the three games are about ninjas. The third? It's Pac-Man. Are there only two ninja games ever? A Goemon game would have been nice to round out the ninja field, but instead we're stuck with Pac-Man. Who's in charge of Virtual Console programming, anyway?

Here are our recommendations for this week. No ninja experience necessary!


Ninja Gaiden

SystemVirtual Console - Nintendo Entertainment System

Cost500 Points
Players1
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedMar 1989

Here's a true classic that still holds up by today's standards. Ninja Gaiden is a tough action-platformer with rock-solid controls, devious level design, and respectable graphics. The wall-jumping puzzles and urgent pace (driven by a strict time limit on each stage) set this game apart from other NES platformers. As one of the first games to use cinematic cut-scenes (I don't count the skits in Ms. Pac-Man), Ninja Gaiden tells an excellent story through detailed artwork and a shockingly competent translation.

It is and always has been a challenging game requiring both skills and pattern recognition, but the unlimited continues make it far less punishing than many of its contemporaries. This is a masterpiece of 2D gameplay and is easily worth your five dollars.

Recommended for Everyone

- Jonathan Metts



Ninja Spirit

SystemVirtual Console - TurboGrafx-16

Cost600 Points
Players2
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone 10+
ReleasedNov 1990

Continuing with the weekly theme, enter Ninja Spirit. Here you run around some nice-looking levels, with four weapons at your disposal from the start. Your sword can deflect incoming attacks, bombs are good for big damage, throwing stars can spread but are slightly weaker, and a roped claw is good for tearing through multiple enemies at once. These weapons can be upgraded into burlier versions of themselves. There's also a powerup that gives you a shadow clone of yourself, which helps when the screen is filled with enemies and projectiles to battle through. The boss fights at the end of each stage are made easier if you have a lot of powerups, but if you die you'll lose them all.

If Ninja Gaiden is too difficult for you, Spirit is a good ninja game that isn't impossible to play through. There is a one-hit-and-you're-dead mode for the experts out there, but the regular game lets you get away with a few hits so people not as confident in their gaming skills can still have a great time playing through.

Recommended for Everyone

- Steven Rodriguez



Pac-Man

SystemVirtual Console - Nintendo Entertainment System

Cost500 Points
Players2
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedNov 1993

Spoiling the ninja party this week is Pac-Man. Namco's classic maze game sees you controlling the one and only cheese wheel-shaped dot muncher through stage after stage. Avoid the ghosts until you get the power pellet, then turn the tables on the phantom patrol and eat them up for more points. There's nothing more to say about it, other than the NES port of the original arcade game was a pretty damn good one.

But it's one of many versions. Chances are astronomical that you've played the game in the past in one form or another on one platform or another, probably in a compilation of some sort. That's the rub I have with the VC Pac-Man. For $5 you could get this one game. For a few bucks more you could get Pac-Man and a whole lot of other Namco classics, some of which are already on Virtual Console or will soon be coming. Pac-Man is and always will be a classic, but I don't think the format or price is right in this case.

Not Recommended

- Steven Rodriguez


Talkback

Smoke39May 14, 2007

What's up with Pac-Man getting a low rating just 'cause it's available for less in another format? I thought you guys weren't taking that into account in your recommendations.

Hmmm. I for one don't really own a good version of Pac-Man--possibly one is decent in Pac-Man World 2. Is the NES VC release still not recommended for me?

BloodworthDaniel Bloodworth, Staff AlumnusMay 15, 2007

For Pac Man, I recommend getting one of those little plug and play arcade sticks. It's an arcade-perfect version and you have a more true-to-form controller. The Wii's d-pad just doesn't treat me well for Pac Man.

Here are the two to choose from:
Pac-Man, Dig Dug and a few other games
Ms Pac-Man with Galaga and Pole Position

that Baby guyMay 15, 2007

Ms. Pac-Man is a much better game than Pac-Man, but Pac-Man Vs. with three friends is always the best.

Remember that this is the NES version. While not botched as badly as Donkey Kong, it's still not the "true" version.

If Pac Man gets the gray X because it's available in another format for a better value, why didn't Galaga, released on the VC a few weeks ago, get the same treatment? Galaga is available in nearly as many compilations, including both Namco Museums in the link given in this article.

To me, having a classic arcade diversion such as Pac Man or (especially) Galaga available immediately upon booting up the console without worrying about having the right disc is worth the $5.

that Baby guyMay 15, 2007

Easy: Galaga is a much better game than Pac-Man.
Ms. Pac-Man is debatable, but at this point in time, Pac-Man has not aged as well as Galaga has.

Ian SaneMay 15, 2007

"To me, having a classic arcade diversion such as Pac Man or (especially) Galaga available immediately upon booting up the console without worrying about having the right disc is worth the $5."

Ever notice how as improvements in technology are made people will complain that something they used to have to do regularly is a huge hassle? Just yesterday at work someone was talking about some parents at his kid's school complaining about a cellphone ban because then they can't phone their kids in class to check up on them even though those very parents didn't have cellphones when they were kids and somehow they made it to adulthood along with, well, everyone who graduated high school in the 20th century.

These complaints of having to put discs in machines and having to store discs in one's house or find the correct disc fall into that category. Worrying about having the right disc? What the hell? Oh no it took me half a second to look at the disc! What a drag! Even a year ago no one complained about having to use physical media to load a game and now because of the VC that's considered a hassle. I can understand that keeping an old console connected to the TV can be a hassle but in many cases VC titles are available for cheap in compilations for the Gamecube. In other words these games are playable on the Wii so no other consoles need to be hooked up. It's really no different than, you know, actual Wii games.

Plus eventually VC enthusiasts are going to run out of space to store their games and sometimes need to redownload a game to play it which sounds considerably more time consuming then putting a disc in a machine.

Karl Castaneda #2May 15, 2007

With Pac-Man, you can probably find a free version to play on the Opera Internet Browser, so it's hard to condone paying $5 for it.

Quote

Originally posted by: Ian Sane
"To me, having a classic arcade diversion such as Pac Man or (especially) Galaga available immediately upon booting up the console without worrying about having the right disc is worth the $5."

Ever notice how as improvements in technology are made people will complain that something they used to have to do regularly is a huge hassle? Just yesterday at work someone was talking about some parents at his kid's school complaining about a cellphone ban because then they can't phone their kids in class to check up on them even though those very parents didn't have cellphones when they were kids and somehow they made it to adulthood along with, well, everyone who graduated high school in the 20th century.

These complaints of having to put discs in machines and having to store discs in one's house or find the correct disc fall into that category. Worrying about having the right disc? What the hell? Oh no it took me half a second to look at the disc! What a drag! Even a year ago no one complained about having to use physical media to load a game and now because of the VC that's considered a hassle. I can understand that keeping an old console connected to the TV can be a hassle but in many cases VC titles are available for cheap in compilations for the Gamecube. In other words these games are playable on the Wii so no other consoles need to be hooked up. It's really no different than, you know, actual Wii games.

Plus eventually VC enthusiasts are going to run out of space to store their games and sometimes need to redownload a game to play it which sounds considerably more time consuming then putting a disc in a machine.


It wasn't really a complaint about the old way, I was just saying it's very convenient to have it right there. Just because it's something that hasn't been around for a while and is something that gamers have done without for the entire history of gaming doesn't mean it's not a nice feature.

that Baby guyMay 15, 2007

Well, I agree and disagree. If you don't own the Namco Museum games on the GameCube, it's probably worth it, because if you wanted to play the games, you'd have to connect something new up every time, or have to search out for a used copy, so I can see the value there. Then there's the fact that kids grow up and move out, and getting an older Gamecube game may mean digging through a closet for even an hour or something.

To further your point though, I love Galaga. It is one of my favorite arcade games of all time, no kidding. Now, I've owned Namco Museum, and have had it for a long time. I refuse to buy these single-game NES ports, because I've got something much better. If they were to offer something of equal level, I wouldn't buy it because of the Wii's backwards compatibility. However, if Namco would actually figure out an improvement on the the release, I would buy it in a heartbeat, and take advantage on the convenience. That's pretty much my policy, though: I've I have it on the GC, I doubt buy a Wii version of it, unless it is clearly upgraded in a desirable way.

Now then, I would buy a DS compatible version of Pac-Man Vs. for the Wii in a heartbeat, though, just so I wouldn't need to drag around extra equipment when I take my Wii somewhere.

I also have to say that you may not understand how nice it is to be able to switch from game-to-game-to-game from the comfort of your couch, and if someone has an extra five bucks to spend, then I see no problem with buying the game for this purpose. It's up to everyone's individual sense of value. It isn't a huge hassle to switch discs, but realize it is great convenience to be able switch games like this. I just don't think it's worth it at all when the game in question is a terribly watered down port, like this one is.

DjunknownMay 15, 2007

I'd have to disagree with Ninja Gaiden's recommendation for everyone. This is coming from a hardcore Ninja Gaiden Fan. This game holds fond memories when I was growing up in Venezuela. Me and my sister were the only ones who knew English, so we were left with translating the cut scenes when they popped up.

Back on point, this game is HARD. Now with the Wii's save point some of the difficulty is negated, but don't fool yourself, some people will not beat this game, .

The final boss has 3 different forms, which demand razor precision, while you only get one life bar. 1 bar of energy while on the last boss and get hit? Too bad! Start over! From the area before the boss!

As they say: Buyer beware. Aside from bragging rights of 'owning' this game (See EULA), know that this will cause you to yell insane amounts of profane and language, and may cause you to chuck those controllers.

EDIT: Edited for clarity.

TrueNerdMay 16, 2007

I may be wrong, but I believe the recommended for everyone tag has to do with the game's quality, not difficulty. By these standards, Ninja Gaiden is most definitely recommended for all.

GoldenPhoenixMay 16, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: TrueNerd
I may be wrong, but I believe the recommended for everyone tag has to do with the game's quality, not difficulty. By these standards, Ninja Gaiden is most definitely recommended for all.


Actually I think the recommended for everyone tag is whatever the person rating it feels like it is. There have been some quality games rated as recommended for fans too (such as the Rtype games).

PaleMike Gamin, Contributing EditorMay 16, 2007

I still don't think balanced difficulty should come into play when recommending a game. Who cares if it's hard? That doesn't make it a bad game.

Have I mentioned this before? face-icon-small-wink.gif

that Baby guyMay 16, 2007

Well, I have mixed feelings. Subjecting someone who has only played Wii Sports since 1987 to Ninja Gaiden or Kid Icarus may be a little cruel, if you ask me. I think there may need to be a "Recommended to Novices" and a "Recommended to the Experienced" to balance things out, since the way things ware going now don't seem to be meeting demands, but that's only something to take into consideration.

Ian SaneMay 17, 2007

"Subjecting someone who has only played Wii Sports since 1987 to Ninja Gaiden or Kid Icarus may be a little cruel"

I think that's a little bit extreme. For someone like that tons of games would be too hard. Besides I doubt there is anyone like that who even visits this site. The Wii may attract non-gamers but I doubt a Nintendo fan site is going to attract many. NWR's audience in general is going to be more experienced.

Though I do agree that the Recommended for Fans rating is inconsistent. I think that rating should be more for games that have become a little dated but fans of the genre would appreciate or games that have quirky or complicated gameplay that has never been anything beyond niche. Good games that were considered must-play games at the time and have not become dated with age deserve to be recommended to everyone regardless of difficulty. Some games are hard because they're cheap and those I would consider dated but not games that are hard just because they require skill.

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