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Detana!! Virtual Console Phantasy Punch-Out!!

by Neal Ronaghan - April 4, 2009, 1:23 pm
Total comments: 8

Sheer variety wins this week's recommendations over with an RPG, a boxing game, and a shoot-'em-up from the Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, and Turbo-Grafx 16 respectively.

This seems to be the week of overenthusiastic exclamation points, as two of the three games recommended have them in their titles.

Carmine Red serves up a recommendation of the odd title out, Phantasy Star IV, which is a heralded RPG for the Sega Genesis. Lukasz Balicki played the Hudson import title, Detana!! TwinBee, which is a vertical shoot-'em-up. I am surprised that companies still see releasing games from that genre on Virtual Console to be profitable. Doesn't the idea of over-saturation ever come up?

The final game of the week is from a personal favorite series of mine, Punch-Out!!, that is seeing its first new release in fifteen years next month. Jon Lindemann played through the previous game in the series, Super Punch-Out!! for the Super Nintendo, and used his wisdom to determine if you should pick it up or not.

Next week we will have Virtual Console Arcade coverage. That is, if the DSi doesn't consume our attention.


Phantasy Star IV

SystemVirtual Console - Genesis

Cost800 Points
Players1
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedYear 1995

I never owned a Sega Genesis when I was younger, but now that I've discovered this game I want to go back in time and correct that mistake. Phantasy Star IV is known as the pinnacle of Sega's classic RPG series, but if it was just another sequel it wouldn't be the same game.

RPGs are expected to have grand sweeping storylines, classic turn-based battles, and a menagerie of characters. What Phantasy Star IV has in addition to these is an exciting pace; that means you don't need to expend large amounts of time before something happens to move the story along. Its battle system innovates with the use of "macros," sets of commands that players can plan ahead of time and execute at the press of a button, making random battles a little quicker and less inconvenient. And Phantasy Star IV isn't just text boxes; major interactions between the game's characters are accompanied by anime-style comic panels to give some illustration to the banter.

The thing that makes Phantasy Star IV special is not that it's an archetypal example of the golden age of 16-bit RPGs. It's also an example of some of the best elements the genre had to offer, with few of the drawbacks of the time. This makes it easy to recommend not just to collectors and retro gamers, but also to anyone who is even remotely interested in RPGs and what it meant to play them back in the days of 16-bit gaming.

Recommended for Everyone

Detana!! TwinBee

SystemVirtual Console - TurboGrafx-16

Cost700 Points
Players2
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedYear 1991

Detana!! TwinBee (which translates to "Here Comes TwinBee!!") is a colorful vertically-scrolling shooter with gameplay similar to Namco's Xevious series, with aerial enemies susceptible to aerial shots and ground enemies vulnerable to bombs. Players control a mechanical bee by the name of TwinBee or WinBee.

The TwinBee series is very popular in Japan and somewhat popular in Europe, while in North America the series is virtually unknown. The only game in the series released in North America was Rainbow Bell, as part of the Konami Classics Series Arcade Hits compilation for the DS.

Detana!! TwinBee features six different levels that are full of enemies with wacky designs. A unique co-op feature enables TwinBee and WinBee to combine their forms for increased firepower and bomb power, although they can only be controlled by one player and can be killed by a single shot. If Twinbee or WinBee's wing gets destroyed, players won't be able to fire bombs, and their firepower will be reduced until an Ambulance Bee comes out and heals the character.

Detana!! Twinbee's difficulty level is very balanced, and while it can be difficult, it's never overly so. This makes the game very accessible even for people who don't play a lot of shooters. Since this import is the Japanese version, there are occasional cutscenes presented in Japanese text. However, players will only miss out on some very minor story elements.

Recommended for Everyone

- Lukasz Balicki



Super Punch-Out!!

SystemVirtual Console - Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Cost800 Points
Players1
ControllersWii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedOct 01, 1994

Super Punch-Out!! is the SNES sequel of the series Nintendo made popular in the arcades and on the NES. It plays very much like Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, with pattern recognition being the key to defeating each boxer. The A and B buttons control your left and right arms, with uppercuts and body blows selected by pressing up or down. You can also charge up a super punch, which is tracked by a meter at the bottom of the screen that fills up as you land consecutive blows on your opponent. There are four different circuits to fight through, and a Time Attack mode as well.

While Super Punch-Out!! is a successful sequel to the NES original, it suffers from a distinct lack of personality. Little Mac looks nothing like his previous incarnation, and Doc Louis is replaced by text bubbles of encouragement from an off-screen trainer that you never actually see. Fortunately, the graphics and sound effects are excellent, featuring classic Nintendo character designs (Bald Bull and Super Macho Man make a return), huge sprites, and humorous voice samples.

Super Punch-Out!!'s gameplay is just as addictive as the NES installment, although its "practice makes perfect" style may not be for everyone. Some of the later fighters are downright nasty, and the only way to beat them is by learning their patterns through trial and error. However, those looking for a sweet 16-bit fighting game need to look no further than Super Punch-Out!!.

Recommended for Fans

- Jon Lindemann


Special thanks to the Video Game Museum for the screenshots

Talkback

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterApril 05, 2009

I think the lack of personality in Super Punch-Out is why Next Level Games decided to stick with the original cast and include some new characters. The game was great, but very few of the characters were memorable (except for Bear Hugger and the Clown, which are palette swap characters).

GoldenPhoenixApril 06, 2009

Quote from: pap64

I think the lack of personality in Super Punch-Out is why Next Level Games decided to stick with the original cast and include some new characters. The game was great, but very few of the characters were memorable (except for Bear Hugger and the Clown, which are palette swap characters).

I agree with the Papster. I'm just not feeling Super Punch-Out. Maybe it is because I was so late to playing it (I played it for the FIRST TIME when it came with Fight Night on GC). Also I find the larger protagonist to be distracting even if he is see through. For myself, I'd take Punch-Out over Super Punch-Out ANYDAY and it makes me so happy that the new one is a homage to the original.

Phantasy Star IV is one that I'll have to check out sometime when I have enough time to play an RPG.

Ian SaneApril 06, 2009

I think Super Punch-Out is just oozing with personality.  The vibe I get from most complaints about it is that it isn't exactly the same as the first game.  And unfortunately that is probably why the new Punch-Out is staying so close to the original, which is too bad because after 15 years I would like something with a little more originality.

And hate to be a stickler but I believe the first Twinbee game released in North America is Stinger for the NES.

NinGurl69 *hugglesApril 06, 2009

The original Punch Out's style is superior with its GIANT BLUE CANVAS and infinitely lit arena.  It's simple yet still pleasing.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterApril 06, 2009

Quote from: Ian

I think Super Punch-Out is just oozing with personality.  The vibe I get from most complaints about it is that it isn't exactly the same as the first game.  And unfortunately that is probably why the new Punch-Out is staying so close to the original, which is too bad because after 15 years I would like something with a little more originality.

And hate to be a stickler but I believe the first Twinbee game released in North America is Stinger for the NES.

Super Punch-Out!! suffers from the same problem as Street Fighter III: It tried being too original and set itself apart from the other games in the series.

While Street Fighter III was a good game the game lack personality and iconic characters. Yes it had Ryu, Ken and Chun-Li but the whole cast was brand new and many fans didn't warm up to them, no matter how hard Capcom tried to make us like them.

It was so bad that Capcom re-released the game three times with different characters and enhanced gameplay tweaks and it still didn't make an impact.

That's why Street Fighter IV feels more like a Street Fighter II tribute than a sequel. It has ALL the original characters, four from the Alpha series and only 5 new characters, a big difference when compared to SF III. Even the gameplay and moves were kept intact.

I think that's why Next Level Games decided to expand on the universe presented on the NES game and broaden it in order to make a game with a striking graphical and gameplay overhaul but still keeping it intact. That way both fans of the original while newcomers to the series can still enjoy what the original offered and more.

Ian SaneApril 06, 2009

Quote:

Super Punch-Out!! suffers from the same problem as Street Fighter III: It tried being too original and set itself apart from the other games in the series.

I agree that Street Fighter III suffers from the same problem but I think that's also a game that is unfairly crapped on because too many people just want to play the same thing again-and-again.  So same problem, but I disagree with you about what the problem is.

The irony of ironies is that Mike Tyson's Punch-Out was the oddball all along.  Super Punch-Out's gameplay better resembles the original arcade games.

I think with sequels you just have to take some risks.  That doesn't mean you should completely overhaul the gameplay every time.  It should remain similar but it shouldn't feel like an expansion pack.  And sometimes the risks don't work out (F.L.U.D.D.)  But in a good series each entry should feel essential and if you're just cranking out more of the same they all blend into each other.  I'm not saying Punch-Out has become like Bomberman but it should be willing to take some risks.  Though the new one will stand out almost entirely because there are so few games in the series to begin with.

IceColdApril 06, 2009

Who says FLUDD didn't work out?

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