Another three Virtual Console titles have come through our team of recommendation experts.
This week, we take a look at three storied franchises, and their respective Virtual Console entries.
First up is the iconic Nintendo franchise, The Legend of Zelda, with its controversial 2000 entry, Majora's Mask. The game eschewed the traditional Zelda formula in favor of a three-day time travel cycle which loaded the game down with side-quests while lightening the load on the standard dungeons.
The second recommendation is Kirby Super Star, a well-loved 1996 entry into the series which has Kirby fans playing nine completely different games featuring the pink puff.
Last up on Virtual Console Recommendations this week is Super Star Wars, a 16-bit translation of the legendary 1977 film which puts players into the role of Luke Skywalker as he begins his quest to become a Jedi and take down the Empire.
|System||Virtual Console - Nintendo 64|
|Released||Oct 25, 2000|
It can be hard to be the sequel to a game that's considered one of the best ever made. Such is the Majora's Mask story. With Ocarina of Time receiving numerous “Game of the Year” awards and endless praise from the media and the fans, expectations were high for the next game in the series. But rather than strictly following the successful formula Majora's Mask takes the award winning gameplay and places it in a world very different from the one we discovered in Ocarina of Time, creating an adventure that is strange, unique, terrifying and even moving.
The story takes place after the end of Ocarina of Time; Link is looking for Navi on his horse Epona. All of a sudden, he is attacked by a Skull Kid wearing a strange mask. He steals both Epona and Link's ocarina and runs away. When Link is able to catch him, the Skull Kid transforms Link into a Deku Scrub and plunges him into a world where a demonic moon has been summoned, which will destroy the world in three days if Link doesn't do anything about it.
Gameplay remains largely the same from Ocarina of Time. The 3D combat made easy by the rock-solid targeting system and remains very fun and challenging. The biggest change to the formula, however, is the time constraint. With the moon set to crash in three days, young Link must complete the dungeons and all the side missions before it does, adding a level of tension not seen in any Zelda game before it. Luckily, Link has his ocarina, so he can slow down and travel through time, enabling him to complete his mission and save Termina. In addition to the quest, Link can help the denizens of this doomed world, which yields some very emotional and even heartwarming scenes of character development. In terms of power-ups, Link has his trusty sword skills as well as the ability to transform into a Zora, a Goron and a Deku Scrub in order to solve puzzles and explore some areas that would have been impossible for Link on his own.
While Ocarina of Time remains a far more accessible title, Majora's Mask is still a great title worth playing one. The time limit can be played with, and in comparison to its predecessor, it has some great story scenes, making all the hard work worth it. It might be a terrifying world to visit, but one you won't soon forget.
|System||Virtual Console - Super Nintendo Entertainment System|
|Controllers||Wii Remote,Wii Classic,GameCube|
|Released||Sep 20, 1996|
Nintendo's Kirby franchise was created to appeal to new and inexperienced players with easy to learn and complete gameplay. But the likability of the character as well as the creativity of the game lead him to super stardom, with each new game receiving praise from fans and critics alike, with Kirby Super Star is easily the most beloved of them all. Kirby Super Star consists of nine games, each with different gameplay styles. Spring Breeze, for example, is a basic platforming game based on the original Kirby's Dream Land for the Game Boy. Dyna Blade uses a map system in order for Kirby to get to the final boss. The Great Cave Offensive's objective is to collect as many treasure items as possible. The Revenge of Meta Knight has Kirby battling through Meta Knight's ship the Halberd while in Milky Way Wishes Kirby doesn't has his copy abilities but gains new ones by obtaining Deluxe Ability Pedestals.
Kirby Super Star also offers mini-games different from the other platforming based titles. Gourmet Race has Kirby racing against King Dedede while eating as much food as possible. The Arena is a boss gauntlet mode where Kirby must fight every boss in the game and beat a time record. Samurai Kirby is a timing mini-game where you must press the button when the command appears and quickly beat your enemy. Finally, in Megaton Punch you must line up cursors in the center of a stone in order to break it.
Kirby Super Star is easily one of the best Super NES titles as well as one of the best Kirby games ever thanks to great replay value and lots of variety in gameplay. The title has left a significant mark on the franchise, being referenced in other titles such as Super Smash Bros. Brawl and even creating gameplay elements that would be common in Kirby titles to come. This is a title that shouldn't be missed.
|System||Virtual Console - Super Nintendo Entertainment System|
Released to much fanfare in 1992, Super Star Wars is the video game adaptation of the famous 1977 film, putting players into the role of Luke Skywalker as he sets off on his journey to restore peace to the galaxy. Unfortunately, if Luke had to put up with half of the cheap platform jumping and ruthless re-spawning enemy attacks in the movie as he does in the game, the rest of the well-loved trilogy would have had a very different outcome. The problems are immediately noticeable, as the controls seem laggy and imprecise. Luke jumps a second after the jump button is pressed, and controls like a turret while shooting. The inability to run and shoot at the same time is hazardous, leaving Luke open to attacks as he tries to mow down enemy after enemy. The enemies respawn even after you destroy whatever environmental object is hatching them.
Even worse than the sidescrolling stages are the 3D driving stages, such as the second stage of the game, where Luke takes his land rover and sets off in search of R2D2. The Mode 7 graphics here don't hold up at all, but that's hardly the worst of the problems, as the control is again difficult and imprecise, and the objective seemingly irrelevant (Destroy 12 Jawas).
There are dozens upon dozens of good Star Wars games on the market. Do yourself a favor and play one of those instead.
Special thanks to The Video Game Museum for the screenshots.