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Virtual Console Mondays: October 1, 2007

by Steven Rodriguez - October 3, 2007, 11:25 pm
Total comments: 16

If you're curious as to why people like to import games from Japan, you won't be after you check out this week's VC releases.

This week was a monumental one for Nintendo's Virtual Console classic game download service. The arrival of The Lost Levels and Sin & Punishment on VC is fantastic news for people longing to play games that were never accessible to here in North America. Perhaps more importantly, the creation of the "Import" genre on VC means that Nintendo intends to bring more of its Japan-only games to Wiis across the globe in the future. While there are more than a few of those we'd like to see, starting off with two of the biggies is definitely putting things on the right track.


Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels

SystemVirtual Console - Nintendo Entertainment System

Cost600 Points
Players1
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedJun 1986

Click here for a video preview

Hey look at that, it's the real Super Mario Bros. 2! Although The Lost Levels was actually released in America with Super Mario All-Stars on the SNES and hidden in Super Mario Bros. Deluxe for GBC, it has not been seen outside of Japan in its natural 8-bit environment. Nintendo's justification for this was that it was thought to be too difficult for people still getting used to the whole notion of playing video games, so instead we got the fake Super Mario Bros. 2. Still a great game, of course, but now we can finally see what we've been missing out on.

Well, I can say that Nintendo was right about the game being hard. Unlike the original Super Mario Bros., a game that was a good, honest challenge, the level design in The Lost Levels is blatantly devious. You know you're not in Kansas anymore when you come across an impossibly long chasm, realize you need to find a hidden coin block, and then perform three pixel-perfect running jumps (one on top of the narrow coin block you just found). And that's just in World 2-2! You'll be clawing for every loose coin you can find, since you'll probably need the 1UPs to help you get through a single World, let alone the entire game. Just watch out for those heartbreaking backwards warp zones.

The Lost Levels is a fantastic game, but it's definitely not for everyone. The classic Super Mario palette might make it look like it's universally appealing, but it's really a wolf in sheep's clothing. You will get frustrated playing through this game, but in a way that you'll want come back to it, knowing you can conquer its ridiculous challenges. It's almost like Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts in a way; you don't care that you need to continue after every game over screen. You just want to beat it no matter what. That's why I love it, and why you'll love it if you want a big challenge.

Recommended for Fans

- Steven Rodriguez



Sin & Punishment

SystemVirtual Console - Nintendo 64

Cost1200 Points
Players2
ControllersWii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingTeen
ReleasedNov 21, 2000

Click here for a video preview

It's about time. Sin & Punishment is one of the best and most famous Japan-only games of all time, but now, seven years after its initial release on the N64, the whole world has a chance to play it on Wii's Virtual Console. Don't worry, it's worth the wait! S&P is a unique action/shooter game from Treasure and could be considered an unofficial 3D sequel to Gunstar Heroes, another Virtual Console favorite. The gameplay is quite similar to the on-rails levels in Star Fox 64 (yet another game you should have already downloaded), except that you are controlling a character on foot rather than a spaceship, so you have to think about jumping. The other major distinction, and what really sets S&P apart from most other games, is that movement and aiming are independent. This presents an added layer of challenge, since you have more actions to coordinate while playing, and Treasure slowly teaches you to juggle the movement and shooting elements through a great training level as well as the story mode's parade of boss battles.

Have no fear; the Easy setting drowns you in continue credits, and the higher settings will give you plenty to do after mastering the controls and learning the levels. Sin & Punishment costs 200 Wii Points over the normal price for an N64 game, a surcharge likely attributed to the translation services at Nintendo Software Technologies and Nintendo of America, who have Anglicized every bit of text in the game except story subtitles. The voice-acting was always in (really bad) English, so you've got just as much chance to ponder the impenetrable story as did Japanese gamers back in 2000. Despite the higher cost, this is definitely one of the best N64 games ever made and an all-around excellent action game that anyone should be able to appreciate. (Note: The Classic controller is preferable to a GameCube controller, although both work quite well. Be sure to try all three control styles to find one that works best for you.)

Recommended for Everyone

- Jonathan Metts


Talkback

TJ SpykeOctober 03, 2007

I have to disagee about Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. It is NOT worth 600 points when it is basically a directors cut of Super Mario Bros. It's not a bad game, just not woth 600 points.

WindyManSteven Rodriguez, Staff AlumnusOctober 03, 2007

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Originally posted by: TJ Spyke
I have to disagee about Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. It is NOT worth 600 points when it is basically a directors cut of Super Mario Bros. It's not a bad game, just not woth 600 points.


It's worth it if it's the kind of game you really want, like I do. Still fits into the recommended for fans category, though.

Backwards Flying DragonsOctober 03, 2007

If you like Super Mario Bros. and you like challenges, it's really worth it. Besides, the original Super Mario Bros. was $5.00, and this one has a lot more levels, so a dollar extra for a lot more levels is a good bargain in this respects. It definitely isn't over-priced compared to what's out there, and it fits the RFF category perfectly.

GoldenPhoenixOctober 03, 2007

Is it just me or does Sin and Punishment's story make 0 sense? Great game, but I have no freak en idea what is going on in the game!

SvevanEvan Burchfield, Staff AlumnusOctober 03, 2007

I am 100% with you, GP.

GoldenPhoenixOctober 03, 2007

Oh well still awesome game, and even the make no sense whatsoever story adds to it as well, it is quite hilarious. It is like "Who am I fighting now? Wait what was the city swallowed by? What turned into what? Huh? Oh well time to shoot more things!"

Bill AurionOctober 03, 2007

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Originally posted by: GoldenPhoenix
Is it just me or does Sin and Punishment's story make 0 sense? Great game, but I have no freak en idea what is going on in the game!

Since when have Treasure games made sense? face-icon-small-smile.gif

SvevanEvan Burchfield, Staff AlumnusOctober 03, 2007

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Originally posted by: Bill Aurion
Quote

Originally posted by: GoldenPhoenix
Is it just me or does Sin and Punishment's story make 0 sense? Great game, but I have no freak en idea what is going on in the game!

Since when have Treasure games made sense? face-icon-small-smile.gif

True dat. I love Gunstar Heroes melodramatic plot twists that presuppose we already knew the backstories for each character. I don't care if Green betrayed Red and Blue, or if Yellow and Magenta are having an illicit love affair. You're named after colors; you mean nothing in the grand scheme of the game.

MaryJaneOctober 04, 2007

2 good games, but only 2...

When are we going to see more release? We should be getting like 6 a week.

nickmitchOctober 04, 2007

Only 2 this week, but to big 'uns. Nintendo finally seems to be appeasing the hard-core crowd. Most other things would probably get overlooked.

sycomonkeyOctober 04, 2007

Sin and Punishment is absolutely and completely fantastic. At $12 this is an absurd steal, even with the dated graphics. The game oozes Treasure goodness.

Query: If I downloaded Gunstar Heroes (which I did) and can only stomach its cheap hits, endless waves of enemies, and big, overpowered bosses...

Sidenote: It's in the same family as Metal Slug, ain't it?

Anyway: Would I like Sin & Punishment? Is it Gunstar Heroes in 3D, with all the cheap hits, waves of enemies, and overpowered bosses that its Sega cousin has?

DjunknownOctober 04, 2007

Quote

You know you're not in Kansas anymore when you come across an impossibly long chasm, realize you need to find a hidden coin block, and then perform three pixel-perfect running jumps (one on top of the narrow coin block you just found).


Funny you mention that, I just arrived at that level before logging on emc_m_badge.gif

Don't forget the differences between Mario and Luigi. I tried Luigi first, but it seems he wants to slip and slide all the way at first. Mario for some reason doesn't jump as high as I remember him. Or is it the level design?

Pretty much the hardcore fanbase has been singing the praises of S&P, so I gave it a whirl. I can see why it gets all the hype.

I find that the Gamecube controller is better if you're aiming right-handed (Right thumbed?), while the Classic Controller is better for left-handed (Left thumbed?) aiming.

If they make a sequel, it definitely begs for Wii Controls. Tecmo brought Rygar back, so why not S&P 2?

I'm skittish whether this import concept will be an ongoing thing. Lost Levels needed no translation, and S&P was for the most part localized, just some touch-ups. Would they do the same for the Mother series? That's another franchise the hardcore fanbase loves gushing about...

vuduOctober 04, 2007

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Originally posted by: Halbred
Anyway: Would I like Sin & Punishment? Is it Gunstar Heroes in 3D, with all the cheap hits, waves of enemies, and overpowered bosses that its Sega cousin has?
As the review says, it's closer to Star Fox 64. If you liked that game you'll like S&P.

SvevanEvan Burchfield, Staff AlumnusOctober 04, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: Halbred
Query: If I downloaded Gunstar Heroes (which I did) and can only stomach its cheap hits, endless waves of enemies, and big, overpowered bosses...

Sidenote: It's in the same family as Metal Slug, ain't it?

Anyway: Would I like Sin & Punishment? Is it Gunstar Heroes in 3D, with all the cheap hits, waves of enemies, and overpowered bosses that its Sega cousin has?

Hmmm....I don't think you'll like S&P. It's a lot like Gunstar Heroes.

Vudu: I actually think it's more like Gunstar than SF64, but it is definitely like both.

If you marginally like Gunstar, and love SF64, it's a safe bet. It's much harder than both of those, though.

This was the week I've been hoping for for almost a year.

*wipes tear*
Okay Nintendo, here's my money.

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