Do these three well-known games hold up after all these years?
The Wii Virtual Console has been showing signs of life recently, and we're here to take a look at one of the recent releases, as well as two from the back catalog.
To start us off, Neal Ronaghan makes yet another case for the all-time SNES classic, Chrono Trigger.
Next, Pedro Hernandez looks at A Boy and His Blob, the NES title that inspired a follow-up on Wii in 2009. Is the original game still worth playing?
Finally, J.P. Corbran looks back at Sonic & Knuckles, the final mainline Sonic release on the Sega Genesis, and its special connectivity features with other Genesis Sonic titles.
|System||Virtual Console - Super Nintendo Entertainment System|
|ESRB Rating||Everyone 10+|
|Released||Aug 22, 1995|
Chrono Trigger is one of those games that is often mentioned "Favorite Game Ever" lists, and it's there for a good reason. From the game-making supergroup including Hironobu Sakaguchi (creator of Final Fantasy), Yuji Horii (creator of Dragon Quest), and Akira Toriyama (Dragon Quest and Dragon Ball artist), this Super Nintendo RPG is a cut above nearly everything else released during the '90s and today. The story, which starts off as a simple boy-meets-girl-then-has-to-rescue-her affair, quickly becomes a time- spanning tale about preventing the apocalypse. The writing is spot on, and the characters are lovable and interesting, with unique traits and excellent musical themes.
The gameplay is, for the most part, standard turn-based RPG fare. Using Square's Active Time Battle system, you control your team in battles that occur in the overworld. There are no random battles, as you can engage the enemies yourself and the battle opens up without delay.
If you've never played Chrono Trigger before, then this low-priced version is definitely worth it, though the portability of the Nintendo DS version might be a trump card for some. This is one of the few RPGs that should be played by every gamer. Even if you have played it before, it's likely to be worth picking up to replay, as it still holds up to this day. And remember, there are a bunch of different endings to get, too.
|System||Virtual Console - Nintendo Entertainment System|
|Controllers||Wii Remote,Wii Classic,GameCube|
There are some games that gain a cult following thanks to their polished gameplay, shining game concepts and enthralling stories and characters. Then there are some that gain a cult following for no real reason. A Boy and his Blob for the NES is one of those games.
Developed by Imagineering and published by Absolute Entertainment, A Boy and his Blob tells the story of... well, a boy and a magical white blob named Blobert (clever). The objective of the game is to complete the levels using the powers of the blob. Blobert is able to transform when you feed it differently colored jelly beans. Some turn the blob into a ladder, others into a trampoline. Using these powers you can complete environmental puzzles and solve the level. The best way to describe A Boy and his Blob is it an odd mix of puzzle platforming ideas and point and click adventure game mentalities.
As solid and original as the concept may seem, A Boy and his Blob is actually a very archaic effort, thanks to some very poorly executed ideas. Often you will not know what to do unless you have a guide nearby or know what to before hand. It is a "trial and error" affair that will frustrate even the most tenacious of players.
Unless you are a super hardcore fan who has a lot of memories of this game and know how to fully complete it, you are better off playing the Wii remake released in 2009 by WayForward. It features a cleaner, more polished gameplay design, the hand-drawn graphics are beautiful, and the music is much better.
|System||Virtual Console - Genesis|
|Controllers||Wii Remote,Wii Classic,GameCube|
|Released||Oct 17, 1994|
The Sonic franchise been known to produce bad entries, so some treat each new release with a lot of skepticism. The series does come from a great background on the Genesis though, and Sonic & Knuckles is the final game of that era. The stages in this game were originally intended to be part of Sonic The Hedgehog 3, but when it became clear that that game wouldn't be able to meet its deadline in that form, they were split off into a standalone game. Well, mostly standalone. While the game can be played on its own, Sonic & Knuckles is famous for its lock-on feature, which let gamers plug other Sonic game cartridges into the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge to unlock special features.
Despite the lack of physical cartridges, this functionality is retained in the Virtual Console version. Pressing the - button brings up a menu that lets you connect Sonic & Knuckles with the previous three Genesis Sonic games, provided you have them on your Wii's internal memory or SD card. Connecting to Sonic 1 gets you a large collection of puzzles in the style of the bonus stages in Sonic 3, and connecting to Sonic 2 lets you play as Knuckles in that game, but the real reason to use the feature is Sonic 3. Doing that allows you to play Sonic 3 the way it was originally intended to be played, with the stages of Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles mixed together, in a new order, and playable as Sonic, Tails and Knuckles.
The platforming is as great as Sonic ever was, but original stages in Sonic & Knuckles, while good, are not at the same level as those in Sonic 2 or 3. This game is not a good way to introduce yourself to the Sonic series. It would be better to start with Sonic 2 and 3. If you enjoy those two, Sonic & Knuckles is a great way to enhance them with new characters and stages.