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Virtual Console Mondays: August 27 and September 3, 2007

by Steven Rodriguez - September 4, 2007, 8:08 pm
Total comments: 9

A whole month without a VC shoot-'em-up? That's got to be some kind of record.

Where were we last week? Playing Metroid Prime 3, of course! An understandable excuse, I'm sure you'll agree. Now that we're out of the month of Metroid, we had plenty of time to play the bevy of Virtual Console releases that have recently hit the service. Notably for this week, it's a rare occasion where Nintendo has put up four games at once. We've played through all seven games from the past two weeks and you can check our our recommendations for them below, starting with last week's trio.


Breath of Fire II

SystemVirtual Console - Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Cost800 Points
Players1
ControllersWii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedDec 1995

Click here for a video preview

There is now a real RPG on Virtual Console. The big idea of Breath of Fire II, as in the other games of the series, is that your character can transform into a dragon to unleash powerful moves not possible in his human form. Of course, it's not as if you can just breathe fire and toast your enemies. As with any RPG, you're up against some tough odds. You're also up against a quest of the epic variety; I've played the game for almost 10 hours now, and there doesn't appear to be an end in sight. The game could take as much as 20 hours or more to beat.

Strictly a Japanese-style RPG, you'll be grinding to become more powerful as the game starts to pour on the challenge. The game will get difficult, not helped along by the fact that the menu system is confusing to navigate. Suffice to say, the game is not perfect. However, it's still an engaging game to play, and a good value. Wii owners starved for RPGs will no doubt eat Breath of Fire II up.

Recommended for Fans

- Steven Rodriguez



Ghouls 'n Ghosts

SystemVirtual Console - Genesis

Cost800 Points
Players1
ControllersWii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedOct 29, 1989

Click here for a video preview

Ghouls 'n Ghosts is the sequel to the original Ghosts 'n Goblins which was released on the NES. This particular version was released on the Genesis and features the same underwear sporting knight, Arthur. It also has the same insane difficulty level the series is (in)famous for. It's a side-scrolling action platformer that progresses along a linear path in a dark, Transylvania-like setting. Boss battles interrupt the progression every once in a while to add a level-like feel to the experience.

Enemies are defeated by using one of many weapons. Arthur can only carry one at any given time, so if a new one is picked up, the old one is lost. Strangely, some weapons are much worse than others, so getting them can actually hurt your chances tremendously. Add that to the seemingly impossible onslaught of enemies and Ghouls 'n Ghosts is one of those games of such an irrational level of difficulty it's hard to figure out who could have fun playing it. But then some masochistic gamers just won't be able to put it down until they figure out the pattern and get a little further. There is something extremely satisfying about completing something that doesn't seem possible the first time you do it.

Recommended for Fans

- Mike Gamin



Super C

SystemVirtual Console - Nintendo Entertainment System

Cost500 Points
Players2
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedApr 1990

Click here for a video preview

It’s time to grab your spread gun and jump back into the alien-infested jungles of

South America in this port of Konami’s arcade sequel to Contra. The basic

gameplay is largely identical to the original NES Contra with alternating levels of

vertical and horizontal scrolling broken up with a sprinkling of mid-level and end-

level bosses. Players can grab a nice variety of different gun types by shooting

down floating bonus pods that frequently swoop on and off screen. Gone,

however, are the faux-3D shooting gallery stages from the original. In their place

Konami chose to implement a basic series of top-down levels that would

foreshadow the infamously intense top-down mazes of Contra III: The Alien Wars.

Super C is a competent and entertaining shooter in its own right. The gameplay is

tight and stressful, requiring a veritable blanket of bullets and lots of well-timed

jumps to shepherd your mini Rambo-clone through the game’s nerve-wracking

eight stages. The levels are decently designed and vary nicely in orientation to

keep the alien slaughter from becoming too monotonous. As an added bonus, NES

owners were treated to an extra three stages and a creepily androgynous end-

game boss not in the original arcade game. Contra fans will have a great time

mowing down wave after wave of Geiger-inspired creepy crawlers and neo-military machinery. However, if you’ve already sated your retro hunger on the original Contra or the superior Contra III: The Alien Wars there’s nothing here that will hold your attention for too long.

Recommended for Fans

Donkey Kong Jr. Math

SystemVirtual Console - Nintendo Entertainment System

Cost500 Points
Players2
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedOct 18, 1985

Click here for a video preview

DK Jr. Math combines the chain-climbing gameplay of Donkey Kong Jr. with the fun and excitement of solving math equations. What? Math isn't fun you say? Well, I can tell you that when you make the game a competitive race between two players to add, subtract, multiply and divide single-digit numbers to a target number, it can get a little crazy. There's a second game mode that makes the target number really big, turning sprint races into marathon. All the while, you've got to think of the best equations to beat your friend.

There are some problems here. For one, you must play the main game with two players. There is no competitive single player game, only a crappy calculator mode that helps you with basic math problems. It has no enemies or obstacles to worry about, and there's no challenge in it other than trying to remember your multiplication tables. If I wanted to get smarter playing a video game, I'd much rather pick up Brain Age.

Not Recommended

- Steven Rodriguez



Adventure Island

SystemVirtual Console - Nintendo Entertainment System

Cost500 Points
Players1
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedSep 1988

Click here for a video preview

Add a dash of Super Mario's presentation to Sonic 1's pacing and you get the Adventure Island series. Adventure Island, featuring the youthful Master Higgins, consists of eight levels each consisting of four rounds. Higgins is fairly defenseless: he must press onward eating fruit, lest his vitality meter run out causing him to die. What's more, unless he's riding his skateboard, which absorbs one attack, he dies with one hit. Higgins can find skateboards, as well as axes (projectiles) and fairies (invincibility), inside of eggs lying (sometimes hidden) about the levels.

While the game's core is enjoyable, the series has stubborn level design requiring twitch reflexes and trial-and-error, making it an acquired taste. This first entry gets difficult especially quickly, so anyone new but interested in Adventure Island is advised to download the more approachable and polished New Adventure Island for TG16 instead. (The TG16 entry also doesn't suffer some from this game's distracting sprite flicker.) But even patient, hardened gamers eager for a challenge will need to know how to continue after Game Over if they want any hope of victory. At the end of the first round, on the left edge of the very last platform, jump to reveal a hidden egg containing the Hudson Bee. You may then continue from the title screen by holding RIGHT while pressing the Start (Plus) Button. Good luck, be careful, and try not to throw your remote.

Recommended for Fans

Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole

SystemVirtual Console - Genesis

Cost800 Points
Players1
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedYear 1993

Click here for a video preview

Here's a game with great ideas and lofty ambitions, spoiled by one bad design choice and some truly atrocious controls. Landstalker is essentially the Genesis answer to Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, and the similarities are many. The developers at Climax tried to differentiate Landstalker from Zelda by adding jumping and platforming elements, and apparently they couldn't get that to work in the overhead perspective, so they shifted everything to isometric. Unfortunately, the platforming is still broken in this perspective, and it does no favors to the combat, either. Most of the time, the best you can do is guess whether the enemies are lined up to hit you, you are lined up to hit the enemies, or you are lined up to hit the nearest wall ("ting!"). The platforming sections are even worse, because you can't even tell which direction the platforms and obstacles are moving, or which way you need to jump to get to the next safe spot.

It's a shame the mechanics are such a mess, because the game has a lot going for it otherwise. The graphics are very nice, as is the music, and the writing is surprisingly sharp for such an old game. The adventure is lengthy and very challenging, making it a good value for your Wii Points. Item and equipment management for your character is a bit more sophisticated than in the Zelda games. However, it takes a lot of dedication and patience to overcome controls this bad. If you are really, really into adventure games, you may be able to enjoy Landstalker's better qualities. Just a warning: don't even try to play with the Wii Remote. Use a joystick with good diagonals (e.g. Wii Classic Controller) to bypass the insane standard control scheme.

Recommended for Fans

- Jonathan Metts



Bonk 3: Bonk's Big Adventure

SystemVirtual Console - TurboGrafx-16

Cost600 Points
Players2
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedYear 1993

Click here for a video preview

Like Mario on the NES, Bonk had three big titles on the TurboGrafx-16. Bonk's Big Adventure is the third game (as the '3' in the title suggests). It plays very similarly to the previous two games. You're a little caveman and you use your huge head and a variety of power-ups to bash your way through the levels and defeat bosses at the end. Visually, the game looks quite a bit better than the previous games. When Bonk grows huge, the quality of the sprite makes it look almost vector, which is a pretty cool effect given the time this game was released.

Probably the most entertaining aspect of this game is the two player mode that allows two people to play through all of the levels cooperatively. It isn't split screen or anything, but if one person falls off the screen, the Minus (Select) Button will automatically warp them back to the other person. Interestingly, each character shares the same health meter, so cooperation is absolutely important. If you kill your partner, you'll die too. Overall, Bonk 3 is another quality platformer that is a lot of fun to play through. Add the great cooperative mode to the mix and it's definitely a worthy purchase.

Recommended for Everyone

- Mike Gamin


¡Muchas gracias a VG Museum por las imágenes!

Talkback

that Baby guySeptember 04, 2007

So in Bonk 3, you can hit your partner? Are you both Bonk?

Also, IMO, the good Adventure Island games are only the ones that have numbers in their name.

Yeah, red and purple-clothed Bonks. It's not quite like the arcade version where you had male and female Bonks.

GoldenPhoenixSeptember 04, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: MegaByte
Yeah, red and purple-clothed Bonks. It's not quite like the arcade version where you had male and female Bonks.


Sexism? Discrimination? First Carnival not letting you be anything other than white now Bonk?!?!

ReyVGMSeptember 04, 2007

Eso sonó tan a Dora The Explorer :P

Quote

Originally posted by: GoldenPhoenix
Quote

Originally posted by: MegaByte
Yeah, red and purple-clothed Bonks. It's not quite like the arcade version where you had male and female Bonks.


Sexism? Discrimination? First Carnival not letting you be anything other than white now Bonk?!?!

Actually, the purple-clothed Bonk is a tanner shade than the regular Bonk.

vuduSeptember 05, 2007

Quote

Where were we last week? Playing Metroid Prime 3, of course! An understandable excuse, I'm sure you'll agree.
Actually, I don't agree. NWR's been pretty sloppy about reviewing VC games in a timely fashion. First the reviews slipped to Tuesday, then you started missing weeks. It's only a matter of time before the Internet collapses.

WindyManSteven Rodriguez, Staff AlumnusSeptember 05, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: vudu
Quote

Where were we last week? Playing Metroid Prime 3, of course! An understandable excuse, I'm sure you'll agree.
Actually, I don't agree. NWR's been pretty sloppy about reviewing VC games in a timely fashion. First the reviews slipped to Tuesday, then you started missing weeks. It's only a matter of time before the Internet collapses.


IGN takes most of the week to do their reviews, if they even come out the same week. 1UP has basically the same quick-look format as us, and it's worse than we are at coming out the same week despite the resources at its disposal.

We're one of the best at doing this, but we're only human. Cut us some slack, hm?

ShyGuySeptember 05, 2007

I think we complain about VC Mondays because we like NWR's reviews and we miss them when they are gone. Think of us a needy, co-dependent life partner. face-icon-small-wink.gif
Why don't you love us more Windy? Why don't you love us?

vuduSeptember 06, 2007

Quote

1UP has basically the same quick-look format as us, and it's worse than we are at coming out the same week despite the resources at its disposal.
Don't even get me started on the Retro Roundup ... Jeremy Parish is currently on my enemies list until he gets Retronauts back in order. (Retro Roundup is in shambles, only two podcasts since like May, and where the Hell is part 4 of my Chrono Trigger retrospective?)

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