Tag Archives: Virtual Console

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Review

ALttPThe Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Available on the Wii U, and Wii Virtual Console)
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Action RPG
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Original Release Date: April 13th, 1992
Wii Virtual Console Release Date: January 22nd, 2007
Wii U Virtual Console Release Date: January 30th, 2014

Parent Talk: Grab ahold of your sword, pick up that shield, and go out there and rescue seven captured maidens, only then can you restore peace to the land of Hyrule.  Sounds awesome and epic, doesn’t it?  That’s because it is!  The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past features lots of sword wielding action, and yet thanks to the cartoony look, never feels like a mature game.  There are some enemies that might frighten the extremely young, but for the most part this is an adventure you’ll want to share with as many as possible, regardless of age.

Plays Like: Take the overhead perspective from the NES classic The Legend of Zelda, and mix the magic spells from Zelda II, and you have only a brief idea of what to expect here.  A Link to the Past (ALttP) forever changed action games upon its release in 1991/2 (depending on your region).  It set the bar so high that no game has ever been able to reach it.  It featured the best possible mix of supremely tight gameplay, a fantastic story, and incredible audio visuals.  Bottom line, this is considered the greatest game of all time for a reason.

Review Basis: Upon purchasing the game in 1992, I have completed it virtually every single year since.  There’s something extremely special about this game that keeps bringing you back for more.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is not only my favorite videogame of all time, but most of the world’s as well.  It was the first game that truly made me go WOW.  The world was massive, the gameplay was spot-on, the story was epic, and the graphics and music were just incredible.  Today, some 22 years after its release, it remains the best of the best.  If you have never played this masterpiece before, you cannot call yourself a gamer.

Who could ever forget their first steps outside.
Who could ever forget their first steps outside.

The Great:

Everything!!!  Thanks for reading the review.  Now go play it.  What, still here?  Why?!  I told you, everything is great, so stop reading and go play damn it!  Ok fine, you want further details, I’ll humor you, but only this once.

Let’s start off with the story.  For the first time in the series, the English actually made sense!  Sure the translation has come under fire in recent years with liberties being taken, but you know what, it doesn’t matter in the least.  The story was so shocking back in 1992 that none of us noticed, and given the quality of the dialogue, you won’t notice today either.  It was one of the first games I can remember that actually had an extremely detailed intro, if you didn’t hit the start button that is.  It explained all about the Golden Land and how a thief broke into this sacred realm and stole a very powerful object.  When you do eventually begin the game, you’re awoken by your uncle, who’s heading off to the castle to rescue the princess Zelda.  Being the good lad you are, you ignore his pleas to stay home and venture forth.  Eventually what appears to be a simple quest becomes something so much more.  By the time you face off against Ganon, and the credits roll it’s incredible to reflect back on all the adventures you’ve had, all the friends you’ve made along the way, and just how epic this tale really was.  Even today it holds up perfectly, but back in 1992 this was simply unheard of in the console space, and it forever changed people’s opinion of what a videogame could do.

One of the coolest uses of Mode-7.
One of the coolest uses of Mode-7.

Next up we have the graphics.  They’re incredible, even 22 years later.  Back when this game hit, the lightning and rain at the beginning of the game were eye popping.  It was such a fantastic way to start the game.  Later on, heading to the Mysterious Forest and unsheathing the Master Sword was another wow moment.  There was also the immense size of the game, not only were there almost a dozen dungeons, but the entire Light World had a clone, with the Dark World.  Clone isn’t the right word, as the Dark World was actually completely different, and because of that this felt like the longest game ever.  The level design was spectacular, the enemy designs were awesome, and the special effects, especially the Mode-7 map was just incredible.  Putting all these things together made one hell of an impression.

The audio was another area that was just spectacular in 1992.  The overworld theme from the original Zelda was crisper, sharper, and all around better in 16-bit.  The number of themes made for this one game were staggering to youngsters the world over.  From the Dark World theme, to the classic fairy music, the amount of songs that originated in this game remain surprising.  Every Zelda game since this one has borrowed at least one theme because they were that memorable.  The sound effects were also great, with a variety of different sounds emitting whenever Link cut a bush, hit into a rock, or attacked an enemy.

A Legend is born!
A Legend is born!

As great as the game is, people might be surprised to hear just how tough it was to complete.  Today we have the Internet, but back in ’92 there was no real way to get help if you got stuck.  Sure you could call a gaming hotline for crazy amounts of money, or subscribe to Nintendo Power, but what if the hotline didn’t have ALttP yet, or what if Nintendo Power didn’t cover the game in that particular issue?  That was it, you just tried, and tried again until you figured it out.  This was such a tough game that Nintendo included a sealed hint book in every copy.  That might be looked at as a fault, but it forced you to explore, and try all the various tools at your disposal.

Speaking of tools, the variety of weapons and items available were jaw-dropping back in the day.  In the original Zelda there were only a handful of items you could find.  In the sequel, the emphasis was more on magic.  With ALttP though, it featured the best of both worlds.  Not only were there tons of fantastic weapons and items to find, but you also had three powerful magic spells you could learn.  The Master Sword had a revamped attack as well.  You could even power-up classic items like the shield and boomerang.  It was nuts!  Overall, this really was light years ahead of the games that came before it.

How did I already rescue the princess?
How did I already rescue the princess?

All of these superb additions wouldn’t mean a thing if the core gameplay wasn’t tight and responsive, but boy was it ever.  Link could not move in eight directions, so everything felt so much smoother.  You could perform a spin attack by holding down the attack button, you could ram through multiple enemies with the Pegasus Boots, and perform so many other fantastic feats with little to no effort whatsoever.  That’s the clear sign that you’re ignoring the controller, and just focusing on the excellent game.

All of this is even before taking into account the Light and Dark World mechanics.  By exploring both worlds you could hop back and forth, finding secrets everywhere.  Exploring became much more than what players had experienced in the previous games, and it was so rewarding that Nintendo would mimic this system with their first 3D Zelda game, Ocarina of Time, except instead of travelling between worlds, you would travel between time.

Many Zelda bosses were inspired from this one battle.
Many Zelda bosses were inspired from this one battle.

The Lowdown:

I could go on for ages, but there’s really no point.  The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is a masterpiece that hasn’t aged a single day in 22 years.  It deserves to be played every year, and if you have never gotten around to playing it before, you really owe it to yourself to give this one a download.  It set the blueprint for all the Zelda games to come.  It’s the best of the best, a living Legend!

Final Score: 10/10

Super Mario Bros 2 (3DS Virtual Console) Review

200px-Super_Mario_Bros_2Super Mario Bros. 2 (Available exclusively on Wii, and Wii U Virtual Console)
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Platformer
Publisher: NIntendo
Developer: NIntendo
Original Release Date: October 20th, 1988
Wii VC Release Date: July 2nd, 1988
Wii U VC Release Date: May 16th, 2013
3DS VC Release Date: August 7th, 2013

You all know the story by now. The original Super Mario Bros. 2 was deemed either too difficult of unoriginal by Nintendo of America back in the day. Therefore, they took a game called Doki Doki Panic and tweeked it here and there by adding Mario influences. Super Mario Bros. 2 (or Super Mario Bros. USA as it’s called in Japan) was the result. Over the years, it’s been quite controversial. Many gamers loved the game, while others simply found it to be way too weird. What’s my take? Read on for the full review.

The Great:

The wackiness! This game makes absolutely no sense and I love it! You can summon a rocket-ship by plucking out a vegetable! How awesome is that? There are mushrooms that grant you additional health hidden in some kind of dark sub-space world. How do you find those mushrooms you ask? By plucking out a potion and throwing it a precise spot of course. How else? Every Mario game out there usually makes you jump on a flag, or hit a moving panel. In this one, you need to grab a crystal ball, usually found in the belly of a transsexual creature, which then lets you enter the mouth of a giant bird’s face. Everything about Super Mario Bros. 2 is bat-sh** crazy, and that’s why it will always remain a classic in my book.

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The Good:

+ Lets you play as four different characters. Each with obvious strengths and weaknesses. I always thought Luigi was the best character to use. Never played with anyone else besides the occasional level with Peach. I just loved jumping high and bypassing areas doing so. Turns out Luigi is possibly the worst character in the whole game. He’s just too clumsy for the later levels, he slides all over the place and gives you no agility. Yet, take a character like Mario for example. While his jumps make you wonder how he ever could call himself “Jump-man”, he can stop on a dime. Makes the later levels a joke with this guy. Peach can float around like a ninja making her very useful practically at any time. She’s the good all around character. Then you have Toad, another neglected character over the years. He’s crazy fast, giving you the chance to rack up extra lives which are a must if you want to complete the game.

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+ A really diverse amount of bosses. All of them require you to pick up objects and throw at them, but the way the fights are setup are truly unique. If there’s one weakness with the Mario titles of today, it has to be the bosses. Super Mario Bros. 2 is a breath of fresh air in that department.

+ The hardest Mario title ever. Sure you could make a good case about The Lost Levels, but for Super Mario Bros. 2 remains incredibly hard to complete without using restore points. You only need a few hits and you’re dead, and those come easily and quite fast starting with World 4.

+ Fun from beginning to end. Still highly playable today. There’s just something special about jumping on one of Birdo’s eggs only to send it right back at its face.

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The Lowdown:

I know not everyone share’s the same opinion as I do on this one. For me, I always loved the title back then and even today find it one of the greatest NES classics of all time. Add the ability to play it while on the go and you simply cannot pass this title up if you like platformers in any way. Buy it!

Final Score: 9.0/10

Nintendo Reveals Earthbound Announcement Community on Miiverse

Something is up at Nintendo of America. Yesterday Nintendo opened up a brand new community channel on Miiverse titled “Earthbound Announcement Community.” What’s interesting is only official Nintendo of America personnel can actually write on this channel. Since the public community is already open, and has tens of thousands of active members at any given time, it’s a little odd that Nintendo would open a Nintendo-only announcement community when we’re talking about a series that began and ended in North America in 1995. Here’s the first post Nintendo made in the community.

Earthbound Announcement Community

Obviously this move has tons of people questioning the true motives behind the creation of this new channel. Does Nintendo plan to bring Mother and Mother 3 to North America? Was the response to Earthbound truly that great that it has changed Nintendo of America’s stance on the series as a whole? Right now we don’t know enough to make any educated guesses, but this is by far the best possible news Earthbound fans could hope for. While it could all be for not, why would they make an Earthbound announcement community and then never announce anything? That makes no sense at all. This was clearly done so they had a place to discuss further plans for the series.

What do you think Nintendo of America plans to do?

Earthbound Review

EarthBound_BoxEarthbound (Available exclusively on Wii U’s Virtual Console)
ESRB Rating: T
Number of Players: 1
Genre: RPG
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Original Release Date: June 5th, 1995 (SNES)
Virtual Console Release Date: July 18th, 2013.
Download Price: $9.99

Parent Talk: Back in 1995 this game received a K-A (6+) rating by the ESRB, which translates to an E rating today, and yet when the game was re-ranked it earned a T for Teen rating. Bizarre wouldn’t you say? That’s because North Americans are far more sensitive to everything today compared to 18 years ago. The official description stats the game features fantasy violence, mild blood (it does?!?), suggestive themes, and crude humor. This is a Nintendo first-party game, it’s not damaging at all and honestly I played through the game when I was much younger than I am now and I turned out just fine (that’s up for debate).

Plays Like: Back in 1995 Earthbound didn’t play much like anything else on the market. Ok that’s a bit of a stretch.  It plays like a very simple old-school RPG.  There are no classes or attribute points to worry about, it’s a classic turn-based JRPG, except with some major alterations which I’ll get to later.

Review Basis: I finished the game in about 26 hours, and can already say I’ll be returning in another year or so just to experience it all over again.

Earthbound is considered one of the very best role-playing games of the 16-bit era. We’re talking Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, and Dragon Quest V and VI territory. This game is viewed by many as a masterpiece, and while this review comes some 18 years after the game was originally released in North America, it’s pretty incredible just how well Earthbound has aged. While not perfect, it’s still easy to get into and all the things that made it so special back then retain their charm.

Let’s get a few things out of the way before we jump on in. Earthbound is actually the second game in the Mother series, as it’s known in Japan. When the game was released in North America is came packed with a Nintendo Power strategy guide and therefore was much pricier than most carts were going for at the time. Nintendo did this because RPGs had yet to really break through to the mainstream audience. It would be a few more years before that happened with Final Fantasy VII on the PlayStation back in September 1997. In 1995 however, RPGs were still a niche genre, and most players simply shrugged the game off upon its original release. Fast forward to the post FF VII market and suddenly players were starting to look back to the 16-bit era to get their RPG fix. It was during this time-frame when most people discovered the SNES’ biggest RPG hits.  Thanks to the creation of eBay, these old gems became even more accessible.  People from all over the world could easily snatch up copies of whatever they wanted.  Earthbound became something of a cult hit and because of that complete copies of the game typically sold for hundreds of dollars. As time went on fan-sites would do all they could to convince Nintendo to bring the Mother series to North America. It’s incredible how much work and effort fans have put into this cause over the years.  After falling on deaf ears for over a decade Nintendo finally decided to bring the classic back, via the Wii U’s Virtual Console. Now that you’ve got some context behind you on the legacy of the game, let’s find out how it holds up today, some 18 years after its original release.

Earthbound1

The Great:

The story and setting are by far the absolute best aspect of the game. While we might have a dozen RPGs released a year featuring a modern setting, this was extremely rare back in 1995.  We’re looking at the game today though, so it’s funny because while the core concept is seeing mid-90s America through the lens of a Japanese director, it comes off wonderfully nostalgic. The way people act, talk, dress, to the pop culture references are no longer “today,” but instead give older players a great feeling of nostalgia.

Gameplay mechanics are also unique because of the setting. Players need to visit a hospital in order to cure themselves from physical ailments. They need to get money from an ATM in order to purchase items, and they can use a public pay phone in order to call their dad to save their progress. Little touches like these may be taken for granted today, but they go a long way in helping pull you into the game’s world.

The story is this simple, a meteor crashes and a curious boy wants to go and see what all the fuss is about. Before long he’s swept up in a journey that will have him traverse the globe searching for three teammates before they put an end to a cataclysm that could destroy the very universe!

Earthbound3

The Good:

+ This is the Earthbound you know and love. It hasn’t been altered in any way, shape, or form!

+ Humor is the name of the game. The dialogue will actually have you laughing out loud at times.  The timing and the translation are second to none. I laughed aloud several times during my play-through and I’m extremely mature.

+ Combat system is as fresh and original today as it was back in 1995. While the core combat system is very simple, yes even for 1995, there’s one major difference that changes everything, the health dial. Players health is depicted on a flip dial, so if they’re attacked you’ll see their health slowly dial down. Let’s say you have 10 HP and the enemy hits you for 5, normally your health would simply drop to 5 instantly, but here it would go like this, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, and finally 5. If an enemy were to do 10 damage to Ness, so long as he can heal himself before the dial hits 0, he can continue fighting. Pretty original, wouldn’t you say?

+ Forget about grinding, it’s for the birds! All enemies can be seen on the field. If players are significantly higher level, enemies will run away. If Ness should touch an enemy, instead of being sucked into battle, the screen simply awards an auto win and gives Ness the exp.

+ Battles have three different states. If an enemy attacks Ness head on, it’s a regular battle, if they touch his back, they get one free turn, and if Ness touches the enemy’s back he gets a free turn. When a dungeon boss is defeated all enemies in said dungeon will automatically have their backs turned and in most cases players are awarded the auto win if they engage in combat.  This is one of the major reasons why grinding really isn’t an issue.

+ While Earthbound didn’t have the best graphics on the SNES, they sure have a certain charm to them. The cities and setting are all based on how Shigesato Itoi perceived America. When the game introduces aliens and other creatures it dramatically changes tone and the graphics follow suit. This is one of the most unique and diverse videogames ever made. Trust me, you’ll come to understand why after a few hours of play time.

+ The audio is very catchy, and most of the samples are based on real-world hits from the Beatles, and other mainstream pop bands. This was one of the major reasons players thought Nintendo wouldn’t release the game on the Virtual Console. You will be hard pressed to find a more diverse soundtrack on any SNES game. Seriously, there are so many different styles of music in Earthbound it will make your head spin…in a good way.

+ Steven has said it before, but I’ll say it again, Miiverse and the inclusion of save states make the game far better than it ever was before.  Not only can you save wherever you like, but you can post questions and comments to the rest of the Nintendo community.  It downright rules!  All of the screenshots you see in this review were taken directly from the Miiverse community.

Earthbound4

The So-So:

+/- Old programming bugs that allow you to use extremely powerful items over and over again while in combat. Today these bugs would have been fixed via a patch, but since the game is completely unaltered, the bugs are still intact thereby giving players who know how to exploit said bugs, god-like powers.

+/- PSI attacks and items don’t have dialogue boxes informing players what they do while in combat.  Sure you can check out the details outside of combat, but you better remember everything because in the heat of battle you’re on your own.

Earthbound2

The Bad:

– Weapons and armor are similar in that when you visit a new town and see a new item you’re interesting in upgrading, you have no clue how big of an improvement it really is. The character box flashes to inform you the item is an upgrade, but it would be nice to know if my defense would increase by 1 or 10 if I buy this new accessory for $5,000.  There’s also no way to know what an item does until you actually buy it.

The Ugly:

Having to constantly either write-down, ask on Miiverse, or look-up which healing spells do what, and which edible items you need to restore PSI points. If you play the game non-stop day after day it’s not bad, but if you go a few days without playing you’re never going to remember everything.

Earthbound5

The Lowdown:

Over the past week I have put in exactly 26 hours and 13 minutes into this classic. There’s only really one negative aspect to the game and that’s the dialogue boxes not being there to tell you which spells and items do what at all times.  Everything else is just as good as it was years ago. There’s almost no grinding required because of the unique take on combat; the story, audio visual presentation and setting are just as imaginative and delightful today as they were years ago. Reviewing this game in 2013 I find myself shocked by just how much fun I had with it. In a lot of ways it was more forward thinking than RPGs I’ve played this year.  So what’s my final word?  Go play the game! It’s a masterpiece and a true gem of the genre. It’s unique, wonderful, and epic.

Final Score: 9/10

Watch Jarrod Destroy Giygas (Earthbound Final Boss)

It’s pretty shocking when I post a Let’s Play video and I don’t have a running commentary, but I wanted the game to speak for itself.  Needless to say this is a MAJOR spoiler as not only do I show you the final boss of the game, but I also show you the final end-game credits.  Basically this is a video you’re not going to want to watch if you have never played Earthbound before.  That said, for everyone else, sit back and watch my super skills!

Yes I am pretty ballsy.  Under normal circumstances I never would have done something like this, but I really wanted the game to end so I could write the review, and put together the video review for sometime tomorrow.  This is a classic, and I truly hope all of you out there get to experience it at least once.  It’s a true 16-bit gem that millions have never played before.  Remedy that!

The Magic of Earthbound Holds Up Even After All These Years

It’s hard to believe that Earthbound (a.k.a. Mother 2 in Japan) was originally released in 1995. That’s 18 years ago!!! For one reason or another Nintendo has refused to give North American and European fans any of the Mother games since. We missed out on the excellent Mother 1&2 compilation for the GBA even though both games have official Nintendo of America translations. Naturally because we didn’t get that one, we also missed Mother 3 (also for the GBA). So I always thought we would never again see this series outside Japan. Imagine my surprise when, at E3 2013 Nintendo announced that Earthbound would indeed be hitting the Wii U Virtual Console sometime this year. Now imagine how shocked I was when I checked the usual news sites yesterday and saw that Nintendo had announced Earthbound was going to be released immediately. I quickly downloaded the game, stopped everything else and played for far, far too long.

Yup, searching garbage can is in.  You never know what you'll find!
Yup, searching garbage can is in. You never know what you’ll find!

This isn’t a formal review, I’ll save that for when I actually complete the game, no this article is simply going to look at how unique this game is, and why after 18 years it holds up surprisingly well. First thing’s first, let’s talk about what doesn’t hold up well at all, and that’s the fact that no Psi abilities are explained to you. In other words, when you go to select a Psi (magic) attack a box saying “causes fire damage” won’t appear, so you’re left guessing what each new ability does. For the most part the names of the attacks explain enough. Lifeup will heal you, Healing will cure you, etc. It does take some getting used to though. The other big problem is with weapons and armor. Normally when you visit a shop in an RPG you will see a dialogue box pop up showing your stats, so you know which weapons and armor are better. Here that box never appears, so you’re left to guess. I’ll tell you right now though, as you visit each new shop the chances are good that the armor will be better than what you’re currently wearing. As for weapons, don’t take the yo-yo or the slingshot, those weapons suck, stick to bats for Ness.

Listen to the police they offer tons of useful information, when they're not trying to kill you that is.
Listen to the police they offer tons of useful information, when they’re not trying to kill you that is.

That’s it for the negative stuff, everything else works perfectly. Clearly the absolute best aspect of the game is just how well the setting, story, and humor have held up. This was one of the first RPG series to take place in a contemporary setting. Kids play with videogames (only Nintendo games of course), have thousands of dollars in their bank account to do with as they please, fight local gangs (which use switchblades), and battle police chiefs, you know, the usual stuff kids do these days.

Don't screw with Teddy!  That's right, you can actually buy Teddy Bears to act as party members so enemies hit the Teddy and not you.  Classic!
Don’t screw with Teddy! That’s right, you can actually buy Teddy Bears to act as party members so enemies hit the Teddy and not you. Classic!

What makes Earthbound so great is that it doesn’t take itself seriously at all. A meteorite has crashed pretty much in the backyard of Ness’ house and he wants to see it with his own two eyes. After a quick talk with this mother, who says she might as well let him go and see or he’ll just sneak out anyways, the adventure begins. Little quirks like this are constantly dished out and they’re hilarious. There’s a reason this game has remained a cult classic for 18 years, it’s because the game is genuinely funny. I mean there’s a weird photographer that pops out of nowhere and says “Fuzzy Pickles” before snapping your photo and taking off. WTF is that all about? Who know, and honestly who cares, that’s what makes this game so awesome.

The vintage battle system works perfectly today, once you get used to the Psi abilities.
The vintage battle system works perfectly today, once you get used to the Psi abilities.

I stayed up to about 3AM this morning playing non-stop and I might just do the same thing today, after some chores. It’s super addictive, and you want to keep going to see what other silliness will pop up next. It’s a real shame Earthbound was never a hit when it first came out, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a hit today. I urge everyone that owns a Wii U to go buy this game immediately and drop everything else they’re doing and start playing right away. Like Final Fantasy VI, Dragon Quest V and VI, Chrono Trigger, and Super Mario RPG, Earthbound is one of the very best RPGs from the 16-bit era and one you can’t afford to miss out on. I’ll have a full written and video review for the game out as soon as I complete the adventure, which at the rate I’m going won’t be very long from now. Go have fun saving the world by vanquishing one Runaway Dog at a time!

Super Ghouls’n Ghosts Review

250px-GhoulsSNES_boxartSuper Ghouls’n Ghosts (Available exclusively on Wii, and Wii U Virtual Console)
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Action Platformer
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Original Release Date: November 1991
Wii VC Release Date: March 5th, 2007
Wii U VC Release Date: May 16th, 2013

You’ve come to the perfect place if you’re yet undecided about purchasing this game or not. I had never played or even looked at screenshots or videos of Super Ghouls’n Ghosts before I bought this. I had always heard how difficult this series was, and decided to keep far away from them knowing how easily frustrated I get. I was the kind of kid who used to throw his controllers on the walls. It’s a miracle I never broke anything. So we’re in 2013, 12 years after its original release and I decided now was the time. Guess what? This game absolutely rocks! I haven’t had this much fun playing a videogame in years! Nowadays, most games hold your hand and pretend to let you play, but in reality you’re basically pressing buttons waiting for the next cutscene. Super Ghouls’n Ghosts will make you scream out of frustration one moment, and jump for joy the next. During all of this, the hours will pass like seconds, making you forget that you’re actually playing a videogame. It’s that level of fun and excitement.

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The Great:

The difficulty! Yes, challenge is actually a good thing. It makes you want to keep playing so you can finally make progress. One of the big reasons why this game is hard is the lack of checkpoints. Make the exact same game today and I guarantee you developers would include (rightfully) two or three checkpoints per stage. Even with those, it would still be unbelievably frustrating, but at least it would be doable. Enter restore points. Now I know you purists out there will kill me for even suggesting using those, but you guys already bought the game and are enjoying it anyway. Restore points give gamers out there the opportunity to finally experience one of the best games of the SNES era. I spent over an hour on the first stage before finally selling out, and using restore points. It still took me about five hours to beat the game. Then I learned I had to do all of it again, just this time they would make things harder for me. How nice of them? So I did, and I loved every minute of it. Thanks to restore points, I was able to experience all of what the game has to offer. Not only that, but I got better at it. Today, I could play this game on the original SNES and get pretty far. I could probably even beat it if I’d free up a few months of my life. Heck, I never did have the skills like Jagger, and reality will never allow such a vacation. So I’ll take those restore points any day. Still doesn’t take away the fact that this is one of the hardest games ever made. Just makes it a bit more attractive.

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The Good:

+ Tons of different weapons. Depending on how you play, you’ll go out of your way to avoid some, while being on the lookout for others. I personally prefer the bow, as it lets you attack multiple enemies at a time. It’s lock-on abilities really are a plus with the golden armor too, although they can sometimes be a nuisance as you can’t fire your weapon again until the last projectile hits something.

+ Breathtaking visuals! I’m not kidding, this game still looks amazing. There is some slowdown here and there because of how hard this game was on the SNES hardware back in the day, but you will still love those segments as it allows you a bit more time to dodge your enemies.

+ The platforming elements are a joy. Like Castlevania, once you jump, Arthur is committed but Super GnG introduces a double jump. Mastering that technique is crucial as some sections require pixel perfect landing.

+ Each level ends with an epic boss fight. Thankfully, they are not as hard as the levels (anytime you die, you need to restart from the beginning), but they still push you to the edge.

 

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The Lowdown:

I’m glad I finally got to experience Super Ghouls’n Ghosts. It’s an absolute masterpiece. With the original Ghost’n Goblins releasing today, do yourself a favor and pick this one up as well. You get a 50% discount doing so. When all is said and done, this has to be one of the best virtual console games available, and with restore points anyone can finally experience this classic.

Final Score: 9.9/10

Giving Kirby A Chance

It’s no secret, especially for longtime readers, that I’ve never really gotten into the Kirby series. I still don’t know why that is. It’s sort of like Pokémon, where I had every opportunity possible, and yet for one reason or another I just never gave the series a proper chance. When I picked up my Wii U I downloaded Kirby’s Adventure on the Virtual Console and started to play through it. Once again, I couldn’t finish the game because other titles started popping up that I needed to review. At this point I figured there must be some kind of Kirby curse I have that’s preventing me from actually sitting down and finishing one of these games. Fast forward to last week and Nintendo had a pretty sweet deal on the Wii U Virtual Console. Purchase any two SNES Kirby games, and get a third one for free. So I decided it was about time I sit down and play through one of these games.

The three games included in the offer were Kirby’s Dream Course, Kirby Super Star, and Kirby’s Dream Land 3. Now what I’m about to write is basically my reaction to these games. I know virtually nothing about the series, so it’s entirely possible the information I write here is completely wrong. Just bare with me.

Kirby's Dream Course

The first game I tried, which also happened to be the first one I downloaded was Kirby’s Dream Course. I tried it for maybe three minutes and thought to myself “wtf is this?” At first it looked like some kind of golf game, but then I realized it actually played more like pool. There was a course with three weird looking dudes on it, and the objective was to roll Kirby into those objects. I finished the first course and closed down the game, thinking to myself that I’d never return. I likely wouldn’t have either if it weren’t for Steven telling me to try it again. He explained the mechanics of the game in further detail, and so I tried it again.

It’s a really unique take pool. The objective is to take out all the enemies on the field. By doing so the final enemy turns into the hole in which you want to get Kirby into. Some enemies grant special power-ups like the ability to jump. It’s also possible to give Kirby a little extra bounce by pressing the A button at the exact moment he touches the surface of the field. These techniques make it possible to score a hole-in-one in almost every course. That’s what I’ve been trying to do at least, and thanks to the restore points it’s actually possible, although not easy. The game requires a fairly intense level of precision. You have to angle Kirby just right, and hit him with just enough power or else you’ll miss your target, or he won’t drop in the hole at the end.

While I’ve been enjoying my time with the game thus far, it isn’t a traditional Kirby, so the next game I tried was Kirby Super Star, which turns out isn’t exactly a traditional Kirby either. It’s actually a collection of mini-games and macro-games. At first I had no idea what the heck was going on, as the title screen is broken down into a bunch of squares with titles on them. Was there an order in which you’re supposed to complete the games? I had no clue. I just selected the first one and was taken to what looked exactly like Kirby’s Dream Land, except with SNES graphics.

Kirby Super Star

This one I really enjoyed right at the onset.  There’s a partner character you can activate whenever you gain a new ability, and the traditional gameplay feels perfect. I stopped after I finished that first game because I wanted to get to Dream Land 3. I plan to try the other games contained in this set once I have a chance.

I knew Dream Land 3 would be the best of the bunch, if only because I knew it was part of the main Kirby series. I wasn’t disappointed either. Much like Yoshi’s Island on the SNES, the hand-drawn sprites look incredible. It blows my mind just how well some of these games have aged. Gameplay is exactly what you’d expect from the series, with Kirby moving around platforms, sucking up enemies and gaining their powers. He also brings along a helper character which is extremely useful, and there are certain animal friends scattered around everywhere which you can use to mix and match different powers. Each stage also has a character that will give you a star if you do something for them. Sometimes this means not killing any plants, other times it means using the right animal friend with the correct power combination to access a mini-boss and take it down.

Kirby Dream Land 3

I played through the entire first world (six of so stages), making sure I grabbed all the stars along the way. While I had to switch gears to review Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, I plan to return to Dream Land 3 ASAP.

So there you have my current Kirby update. I really want to finish Dream Land 3, as it’s an excellent game that I missed out on years ago, and I know Steven will keep pressuring me to finish Dream Course. If I can actually play through all of Dream Land 3 I will have accomplished a life goal, actually giving the series its proper respect. Right now I’m really enjoying my time with the game, and am looking forward to finishing it!

Super Metroid Review

super_metroid_box_usSuper Metroid (Available exclusively on Wii U and Wii Virtual Console)
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Action
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo R&D1, and Intelligent Systems
Original Release Date: April 18th, 1994
Wii VC Release Date: August 20th, 2007
Wii U VC Release Date: May 15th, 2013

Parent Talk: The ESRB rates Super Metroid E for Everyone because of cartoon violence. Back when the game was originally released it was actually one of the most adult-oriented videogames Nintendo had published. It featured a creature slowly melting to death, and dead bodies, which was incredibly daring for its time. Today the game is considered suitable for two-year olds, but back then it likely would have been rated T for teen.

Plays Like: Today you could say it plays a lot like the GBA and DS Castlevania games, but the truth of the matter is this is the game that started the whole Metroidvania genre. You move around a giant maze, acquiring power-ups which grant you access to areas you couldn’t traverse before. While technically the original Metroid featured the same gameplay, it was the inclusion of a map system that really established the genre as we know it today.

Review Basis: Finished the game about a thousand times over the years. Having played through the game at least once a year for the past 19 years, I believe I have enough experience to write a review on it :-P

Leave that where you found it!
Leave that where you found it!

I can guarantee you one thing, this review is going to be omega biased. I’ve loved this game since purchasing it in 1994, and my love for it hasn’t diminished one iota in all that time. I believe it’s one of the very best videogames ever created, and it’s on my list of top three videogames of all time. The mood, gameplay, storyline, graphics and soundtrack remain just as awe-inspiring today as they did when I first plunked the game into my SNES all those years ago. If you’re ok with that, sit back and let’s take a look at greatness!

Zebes comes alive!!!
Zebes comes alive!!!

The Great:
Improving on the original in every way, shape, and form. From vastly superior gameplay, to the inclusion of a brilliant map system, Super Metroid improved on the original two games in every way possible. Samus could now shoot at an angle, or jump up and shoot downward, she had access to a wider array of weapons, and exploration was much more refined than ever before. The power of the SNES allowed each new area to look and feel distinctive, unlike the black backdrops of the original. By mastering more advanced techniques players could even sequence break and finish the game in under 30 minutes. All of these different elements came together to make Super Metroid something truly special for its time, and a game that feels just as fresh today, which is pretty amazing.

Dead bodies in a Nintendo game?!?!?
Dead bodies in a Nintendo game?!?!?

The Good:

+ Beautiful graphics. Some games just don’t age well, other are apparently timeless. Super Metroid is one of those games. From the little details like the way Samus makes splashes with her boots as she runs through damp areas, to the Mode 7 special effects, Super Metroid looks just as detailed and impressive today as it did back in 1994.

+ Incredible soundtrack. Super Metroid not only featured voice acting, which was mind blowing for its time, but had one of the very best soundtracks. From the moody intro to the incredible themes that play as you progress to each new area, Super Metroid never ceases to amaze.

+ Feeling of isolation. While the original Metroid had certain elements where you felt like you were alone, SM took it to a whole new level. From the moment you step foot on Zebes you know you’re alone. The Wrecked Ship also enhances this feeling of isolation because it’s clear no one has been here for a very, very long time. Scatter a body or two here and there, and again, you realize you’re completely on your own.

+ Fantastic storyline. I know it seems absurd for a game with one page of story dialogue, but it works incredibly well. You begin where you left off, literally. Even certain areas from the original Metroid return, which was such an amazing touch. There’s only one Metroid left in the universe and it’s your job to rescue it for the good of galactic civilization. Oh, and the ending of this game is one of the most powerful of all time.

+ Creative and useful upgrades. Some of the items you acquire are so well thought out it will surprise you. From the X-Ray scope, which allows you to see secret areas, to the Speed Booster which allows Samus to run so fast she can destroy enemies and break through walls, Super Metroid has items that are constantly fresh and exciting to use.

+ Secrets worth going after. It’s entirely possible to finish the game without finding a couple of really neat weapon upgrades and items. By searching every nook and cranny of Zebes you’ll be amazed at just what you can find.

The amount of goodies you get is pretty incredible.
The amount of goodies you get is pretty incredible.

The Bad:

– The ending of this game said “See you next mission” and that was a blatant lie. Everyone thought it would be a few years before Samus’ next mission, not eight bloody years!!!

The Ugly:

Defeating Crocomire and watching him slowly melt to death. This was pretty harsh for 1994, and remains so even today. His skin literally melts off his bones and his screams still haunt my dreams.

It's go time!
It’s go time!

The Lowdown:

Super Metroid is one of a few games that is just as fun and impressive to play through today as it was when it was originally released back in 1994. That says everything. This is a classic in every sense of the word. It ushered in an entirely new sub-genre to action games and helped shape the future of the Castlevania franchise. The only sad thing about Super Metroid is that it brings back memories of just how long I had to wait for a follow-up. When Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion were both announced I remember vividly saying “Thanks Nintendo, it’s about F-ing time!” If you own a Wii or a Wii U, do yourself a favor and download this game right now. It’s incredible, and a true masterpiece.

Final Score: 10/10

Remembering…Ghosts’n Goblins

 

Oh the pain, the pain! There’s nothing like Ghosts’n Goblins, except maybe…well…the rest of the GnG series. Let’s get this out of the way right now, this game is hard, like OMG hard. If you have a short amount of patience or are easily frustrated don’t bother with this one. I say that because even after all these years this game is brutally hard. Here’s a glimpse of the very first stage.

Simple enough right? Right! Now go ahead and give it a try, I’m rather curious how you’d fair. My story with this game began many years ago with the same childhood friend that purchased Super Ghouls’n Ghosts for the SNES. I only got into the game a year or so after it was released, and honestly this is one I never really missed not having at home. It was insanely difficult to the point where making it to the third stage felt like a life achievement. Actually beating the game twice was more or less unheard of. No one at school had done it, so we just thought Nintendo Power was full of it when they said you actually had to beat the game twice, and that the second time around it was actually more difficult.

Outside of the insane difficulty, what I remember most about this game was that it was really fun game to play. I loved the enemy designs and the music, oh the music was just awesome. Remember that this game hit in 1986 and back then videogame production values were anything but impressive. So being able to actually hum along to the music, and trying to get to the next end-stage boss was so addicting.

Eventually my friend and I were able to make it extremely far in the game, although we never did manage to do the whole thing over again on the harder difficulty. Now that the game’s coming out on the Wii U’s Virtual Console I might just give the game another chance. The beauty of restore points! Some may call it cheating, but for a game like this it makes it so much more manageable. Why bother getting frustrated when you can, you know, actually enjoy the game! That’s the whole point, not destroying your TV.

Capcom has confirmed that Ghosts’n Goblins will be released on the Wii U Virtual Console on May 30th so if you’re looking to relive some awesome memories, or if you think you’re up to the challenge, by all means give the game a download and experience it for yourself. I can’t wait to see the Miiverse posts on this one ;)

Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge Review

Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge (Available on Nintendo 3DS eShop)
ESRB Rating:
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Action
Publisher: CAPCOM
Developer: CAPCOM
Release Date: September 15th, 2011
MSRP: $3.99

What is it? Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge was originally released on the Game Boy in 1991 and was the Blue Bomber’s first foray into the handheld scene. More of a remix than a new entry, Dr. Wily’s Revenge took elements from Mega Man and Mega Man 2 on the NES and combined them into one distinct adventure. Select Robot Masters from each game make appearances, along with a new enemy named Enker. The premise is simple: challenge a Robot Master, complete his level, and then defeat him to claim his weapon. That weapon can then be used for the rest of the game. Each boss enemy is weak to a specific weapon, giving the game a rock-paper-scissors design.

Review Basis: Completed the game at least a dozen times, on both the original Game Boy and 3DS.

The Great: Mega Man on the go! The original Mega Man series remains as one of the greatest relics of the 8-bit era. The fine-tuned gameplay, fun characters, and excellent stage design made the NES games stand out as some of the best on the system. The Game Boy title, Dr. Wily’s Revenge, successfully kept the spirit of the series in tact on its way to the handheld scene. The game still remains fun to play today on the eShop. With so many Mega Man titles available on the Nintendo Wii’s Virtual Console series (including 1 through 5 and X), it was only a matter of time until the Game Boy titles made their debut. If you enjoy platforming/action games, this is a great choice.

The Good:

+ Fun and challenging 2D levels. While not nearly as long as the NES originals, the levels are well designed and challenging. They can be completed in short bursts, which is ideal for a handheld action game. Each stage has a unique gimmick or stage theme to fit with the boss’ name/powers. Also, even though the boss enemies are the same, the levels are actually completely different from the NES games! Even the stage themes have been changed, to give the game a distinct flavor. Each level has a variety of traps and hazards, many of which can kill you instantly.

+ Tight controls. The jumping and shooting mechanics are as spot on as ever. Certain sections require precise jumping skills, so mastery of the controls is an absolute necessity. Several levels are quite difficult.

+ The Restore Point feature improves on the game’s balance. The original game was incredibly punishing because of its high level of difficulty. The password system let players save their progress, but the Restore Point feature makes saving progress easier and can make tense platforming sections less stressful.

+ Eight bosses, including one special boss! There are four main levels to tackle, each of which housing a Robot Master to take down: Fire Man, Ice Man, Cut Man, and Elec Man. In Dr. Wily’s castle, players can face off with Quick Man, Bubble Man, Flash Man, and Heat Man from Mega Man 2, in addition to the Mega Man Killer Robot Enker!  Defeating Enker nets you his unique and powerful Mirror Buster weapon.

+ Catchy chiptune music. While not as memorable or as exciting as Mega Man or Mega Man 2’s soundtrack, Dr. Wily’s Revenge has a radical set of tunes.

The Bad:

-Compared to later Game Boy Mega Man games, the package is light. Mega Man II through V on Game Boy have more stages and content to play through.MM IV and MMV especially outshine this entry thanks to a slew of fun, new features, better level design, better visuals, and improved balance.

-The zoomed-in perspective can make platforming more difficult. Compared to the NES games, Mega Man’s character sprite is larger and the perspective is far more zoomed-in (most likely to compensate for the Game Boy’s small screen size). This can make traversing difficult platforming sections even more stressful.

The Ugly:

-No Energy Tanks. Even after all these years, it still hurts.

The Lowdown:

Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge is far from the best game in the classic series. It is easily outshined by the superior NES titles and some of the later Game Boy entries, especially Mega Man V. Still, even a “good” Mega Man title is still far from the bad choice. It jumps ahead of many other games available on the eShop Virtual Console service and is worthy of a purchase. If you like run-and-gun 2D action games, give this one a go!

Score: 7.5/10

Game Gear Wishlist

Nintendo has promised that the 3DS Virtual Console service will be home to more than just Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles. With that in mind, I just had to compile a list from the Game Boy’s old rival, the Sega Game Gear! With a wealth of Sega titles already available for download on the Nintendo Wii, it only seems like a matter of time until we start to see some games hit the 3DS…and it’s really about time. Due to the inability to play Game Gear games on any other piece of hardware, gamers have been at the mercy of both the Game Gear’s horrendous battery life and the forward march of time. If you have a working Game Gear today, I envy you. Now what follows below is my personal list of most anticipated Game Gear Games.

Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble
Original Release: November, 1994
Genre: Platformer
Publisher: SEGA
Developer: Aspect

What Is It? Triple Trouble is one of the many Sonic the Hedgehog platformers available on the game Gear, originally released back in 1994. Though the Game Gear was technically inferior to the Genesis, Triple Trouble proved itself to be a capable and fun platformer. Unlike the first few Game Gear Sonic games, most of which were ports from the Sega Master System, Triple Trouble is new, unique, and quite large in scope. There are a total of six zones in the game, complete with special stages. This game is available as a secret bonus in Sonic Adventure DX and for the Nintendo GameCube, as well as the Sonic Gems Collection.

Why Is It Worth Playing? Again, unlike most of the other Game Gear Sonic games, Triple Trouble is all new. Each zone has three stages, and most of the levels are surprisingly well-designed and large in scope. The developers managed to squeeze everything they possibly could out of the Game Gear, making a platformer that just couldn’t be done on Nintendo’s Game Boy. Though there are many criticisms about the game, Triple Trouble has amazing visuals for the Game Gear and is very enjoyable to play.

Tails Adventure
Original Release: November, 1995
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: SEGA
Developer: Aspect

What Is It? Tails Adventure is unlike most every other Sonic the Hedgehog games available, most notably because Tails is the main character. This makes it one of the series’ first official spin-offs. Tails Adventure is somewhat similar to Nintendo’s Metroid series thanks to its non-linear platforming and action elements. In it, Tails must search an island for weapons and special items to defeat enemies, the Kukku Army, and retrieve the Chaos Emeralds. Like Triple Trouble, this game is also available in both the Sonic Gems Collection and in Sonic Adventure DX.

Why Is It Worth Playing? Tails Adventure can best be described as a slower-paced platformer, with emphasis on collecting items, backtracking, and RPG elements. The nonlinear design and surprising amount of content made Tails Adventure stand out in the Game Gear library and make it a worthy game to play still today. There are about a dozen stages to complete, and over 20 unique items to find and use. Each item makes exploring the island fun and interesting. With the ability to use the 3DS restore point function and suspend play to go online and look at game walkthroughs, many of the game’s problems could be alleviated.

Mega Man
Original Release: 1995
Genre: Action/Platforming
Publisher: Capcom/U.S. Gold
Developer: Freestyle

What Is It? Mega Man on Game Gear is essentially a remixed adventure, combining stages and enemies from both Mega Man 4 and Mega Man 5. This is similar to the first four Mega Man adventures on the Game Boy, which drew inspiration from NES games rather than original material. This is the only Mega Man game available on the Game Gear and one of the few released for SEGA platforms in general.

Why Is It Worth Playing? For 2D run-and-gun action, it doesn’t get much better than Mega Man. Even though this pocket version is more or less an abridged remix of two NES classics, it packs a lot of fun into a tiny 4-megabit cartridge. The Game Gear’s color display and backlit screen made this game more closely resemble its NES counterparts, though the system’s limited battery life and the lack of a continue feature made the adventure more difficult to play on the original hardware. Having this game available on the 3DS Virtual Console would fix all of the problems that came with the hardware and it would also fit in perfectly with the line of Game Boy Mega Man titles.

Defenders of Oasis
Original Release: 1992
Genre: RPG
Publisher: SEGA
Developer: SEGA of Japan

What Is It? Defenders of Oasis is a classic turn-based role-paying game with a setting and story that draws heavily from Mesopotamian mythology and stories like Sinbad the Sailor, Aladdin, and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. The main character, the prince of Shanadar, is accompanied by a Genie and two other comrades who help fight for peace. The story only has loose connections with other games in the “Oasis” series though. The game mechanics differ greatly from both Beyond Oasis for Genesis and Legend of Oasis for Saturn.

Why Is It Worth Playing? DoS is, at its core, a quality RPG. While the combat mechanics are fairly typical for a JRPG, but that’s what made the game interesting—there simply weren’t many RPGs available for SEGA platforms early on. The colorful graphics and catchy soundtrack made the game stand out in comparison to what Nintendo offered on the Game Boy, but the original hardware’s short battery life made playing a lengthy RPG difficult.

Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya
Original Release: 1994
Genre: Strategy RPG
Publisher: SEGA of America
Developer: Sonic Software Planning

What Is It? Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya is a portable entry into the strategy RPG series Shining Force, which first appeared on the Sega Genesis. It is a direct sequel to Shining Force Gaiden, a Game Gear title which unfortunately did not make it out of Japan. Despite this setback, players can still jump into this adventure quite easily. The game basically plays out as a series of turn-based battles on a variety of grid-based environments, separated by story cutscenes. Unlike other JRPGs, there is no emphasis on exploring a game world or dungeon-crawling.

Why Is It Worth Playing? Shining Force I and II for Sega Genesis are irreplaceable classics and forerunners for the strategy RPG genre. They blend together decent storylines with compelling gameplay. Sword of Hajya thankfully managed to retain the feel of the console games without sacrificing authenticity. The battles are every bit as compelling and the graphics looked fantastic considering the hardware. The Game Gear managed to closely mirror the home console versions quite well. Playing on the 3DS would make battles quite a bit easier as well, with the ability to make restore points mid-battle.

Game Boy Wishlist

The Nintendo 3DS eShop is already home to a wealth of classics, but with Nintendo’s huge catalog of games, there is always more available. What Game Boy games would you like to see offered on Nintendo’s 3DS Virtual Console service? I present my list, in no particular order.

Mega Man Xtreme
Original Release: January 17th, 2001
Genre: Action
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom Production Studio 3

What Is It? Mega Man Xtreme is a portable spin-off game in the Mega Man X series, combining elements from both Mega Man X and Mega Man X2. In addition to classic enemies and stages, Capcom threw in multiple difficulty modes, new enemies, and an all new storyline to make the game into a distinct “new” entry rather than a simple port.

Why Is It Worth Playing? Few mascots do action as well as Mega Man, and the X series is particularly well-known and respected. Xtreme is a title that takes its cues from one of the best Mega Man games of all time, and manages to make it something new. While not as good as Mega Man X, this handheld outing provides great fun, a healthy level of challenge, several difficulty modes, and plenty of secrets. Better yet, each difficulty mode reveals more of the storyline. Mega Man is a classic game character and his handheld adventures are definitely worth playing. With the ability to save at any time via the restore point feature, playing on the 3DS could make difficult parts much easier.

 

 

Crystalis
Original Release: June 27th, 2000
Genre: Adventure
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: NST

What Is It? Crystalis is a port of an NES game of the same name. Even though it’s unquestionably a clone of Zelda, Crystalis manages to be a thoroughly compelling adventure. The Game Boy Color port added new storyline elements, but unfortunately the original’s superior soundtrack was thrown out, supposedly due to licensing issues with SNK.

Why Is It Worth Playing? If you’re going to clone something, choosing Nintendo’s Zelda franchise is a great choice. Plus, the developers added in many elements to make Crystalis fun and engaging. You can find and equip a great number of different elemental swords, all of which are capable of multiple levels of magic attacks. For example, the Lightning Sword can shoot out small bolts of electricity at first, but later, it can rain down powerful thunderstorms. You can also find tons of items and magic spells, allowing you to fly, read minds, and shape shift. Crystalis was an incredibly ambitious game for the NES and a handheld version would be a welcome surprise.

 

 

 

Poke’mon Red/Blue
Original Release: September 30th, 1998
Genre: RPG
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Game Freak

What Is It? Do I really need to say anything here? Everyone knows about Poke’mon. It only makes sense that Nintendo allow us to download and relive the original generation. Though the Yellow version is debatably superior, the original Red and Blue versions hold a lot of nostalgic appeal. Remember all of the conspiracy theories about how to catch Mew? Facing down Team Rocket? Throwing down against your rival after beating the Elite Four? Catching Mewtwo? There are so many amazing moments. While the modern games have improved on so many parts of the formula, it’s good to respect the original.

Why Is It Worth Playing? Poke’mon is a fun turn-based role-playing game, but being on the 3DS could make any of the game’s shortcomings much more bearable. Being able to save anywhere with the restore point feature and the excellent display options could mean the best way to re-experience the classic. Hopefully Nintendo would also go ahead to implement wireless trading as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Dragon Warrior III
Original Release: July 30th, 2001
Genre: RPG
Publisher: Enix
Developer: Enix

What Is It? Dragon Warrior III is an upgraded version of an NES game of the same name. Like Dragon Warrior I & II for Game Boy Color, III managed to improve on the mechanics, graphics, and presentation of the NES original, making it become a classic in its own right. Dragon Warrior III for Game Boy Color was considered THE hardcore RPG for the platform and one of the system’s best games. Enix had taken extensive care in remaking the adventure.

Why Is it Worth Playing? If several perfect review scores aren’t indication enough, Dragon Warrior III was and still is an excellent game. The story was simplistic, but the amount of content was incredibly impressive for the time, and even now having a meaty RPG would be a nice addition to the 3DS Virtual Console catalog. Some kind of wireless trading feature would be necessary to take advantage of the “Monster Medal” system, but even without that, the classic turn-based gameplay, lengthy campaign, and timeless music and presentation make this a must play!

 

 

 

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages
Original Release: May 14th, 2001
Genre: Adventure
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo EAD/Flagship (Capcom)

What Is It? The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages were released simultaneously back in 2001. While they have some similarities, they are actually distinct adventures with unique gimmicks. What was more surprising was what Capcom was behind development—and they didn’t just make one “good” game, they managed to make two beloved classics. Both games are 2D adventures with an overhead perspective; similar to Link’s Awakening on the Game Boy Color. However, these games introduced a unique storyline (shared between the two games) and interesting design concepts. OoA was the more complex of the pair, focusing on the ability to go forward and backward in time. OoS was more focused on adventuring rather than puzzles, and the ability to swap seasons provided a distinctly different experience. However, having both versions meant you would have access to even MORE content.

Why Is It Worth Playing? Link’s Awakening DX is considered one of the better games available in the Zelda franchise. Both Oracle of Ages and Seasons are just as good and just as worthy. The exquisitely crafted dungeons, vibrant 2D graphics, and great content make both versions ideal buys.

 

 

 

Some other games I’d like to see include: Mega Man IV, Mega Man V, R-Type DX, and Harvest Moon.

What are some games you want to see hit the 3DS eShop?

Kirby’s Dream Land for 3DS, classic or outdated?

I can’t seem to stop buying those 4$ Game Boy classics on the 3DS Virtual Console. I remember playing a Kirby game on my Game Boy Pocket as a child and thought this might be it. Turns out that the game I used to own (I might still do…) was in fact Kirby’s Dream Land 2. With a little bit of research after, I found out that this is actually Kirby’s very first adventure. So for those of you who have never played a Kirby game (I’m looking at you Jarrod), this is the perfect place to start. Be warned however, Kirby is missing his coolest ability in his original game, the ability to copy his enemies powers. Because of this, you might want to wait for the inevitable sequel. I remember that Kirby’s Dream Land 2 was an excellent portable title, one that required you to go back and get every single secret item in order to defeat the true final boss.

I’ve played my share of Kirby in my days, but can’t claim myself as an expert on the guy. I must say Kirby 64 was and still is one of my favourite platformers. It was simply awesome, especially at that stage when the Nintendo 64 had one game per 3 months if that. My point is, Kirby’s original adventure is no pushover. This surprised the heck out of me as every Kirby game is usually absent of any challenge at all. I think not being able to adsorb your foe’s abilities is a game changer. It really makes things that much harder. I did manage to complete the game on my first try (and barely at that) but the game unlocks the “extra” mode after that and I couldn’t even defeat the first boss! Wow… this is a Kirby title? Very nice. It gives more reasons to continue playing. I must make a man of myself and complete this Kirby game!

Compared to today’s games, this will not wow the kids. Still, the nostalgia factor is more than enough for me. I’ve always been a Game Boy guy from the 90’s moving on and it feels great to have access to tons of classics on one system without having to input any cartridges. For 4$, these games are dirt cheap. Still, there are only 5 levels here. Gamers with skills might not find much for their money. I don’t know if my article helps you in any way, but I sure am enjoying this new Virtual Console. I’ll probably download Donkey Kong next in the hopes that Nintendo ports over the Donkey Kong Land titles. Those were awesome! Peace out.

Super Mario Land Final Thoughts

I just got myself a shiny black 3DS today. I have to say I’m extremely impressed by the virtual console. I still can’t play with the 3D on though, so I still think it’s a gimmick. Might change my mind eventually. I couldn’t find OoT 3D anywhere so I got Spirit Tracks instead. Hopefully, I’ll get OoT 3D next week. Anyhow, the first thing I did when I opened up the e-shop was to purchase Super Mario Land. I must say at 3.99$, this is not too shabby at all. I had fond memories of this game, as it took me a while to complete as a child. I showed it to my girlfriend and she reminded me that there was a second Mario game released for the original Game Boy. I completely forgot about that! Super Mario Land 2 was awesome! Can’t wait for the virtual console release.

Mario Land doesn’t really compare to the other Mario games. The level designs are for the most part not very challenging nor original. All you do is avoid enemies while navigating your way through a very simple level. All the levels actually repeat themselves as you move along. There are only 12 levels in the entire game, making this the shortest Mario game out there. Still though, for the time (this was released in ’89), Super Mario Land was a great portable title. I still say it is. It’s perfect for short and quick playthroughs. The difficulty does pick up near the end too as I quickly found out. I was completing level after level without many problems until I started to lose lives by the handful near the end. I was able to complete the game with only 4 lives yet. I’m sure I can do better in my next playthrough.

There are some weird things about this Mario game. For starters, the flower makes Mario shoot rubber balls. Secondly, there are Gradius-style levels in this game. Awesome! The enemies are bizarre too, and so are some worlds. The second world is played in an Egyptian landmark with strange writings all over the place. Mario himself is also very small, barely visible at his lowest form. Still though, playing through this game brought back memories and for only 4$, I’d say it’s worth a try. The controls are spot on, made just a bit harder thanks to the 3DS’ “made for babies” D-Pad. That’s my 2 cents, take it for what you will.