Every week Cyril Lachel comes down from his giant castle in the hills to provide the final word on all of the classic downloadable games and retro compilations. This is the Retro Round-Up, your official guide to the best (and worst) in classic gaming for the Nintendo Virtual Console, Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. Join us as we shed some light on what games are worth your five or ten dollars, and what games you should avoid at all costs. For more information about these games (and retro gaming in general) we invite you to check out Defunct Games
Over the past two years I've covered the Virtual Console, Xbox Live Arcade, GameTap and even the PlayStation Network. I've displayed pictures, written poetry and tried to go through as many classic 8-bit games as humanly possible. After all this time I've decided to open up the Retro Round-Up to a couple of new platforms, including the DSiWare and the WiiWare. Find out just how we review games on those systems when you read another exciting (and long) episode of the Retro Round-Up!
Uncharted Waters: New Horizons
(Virtual Console/Koei/800 Points)
What Is It?
Although they are best known for their seemingly endless supply of Dynasty Warriors games, Koei was once a company that specialized in extremely nuanced strategy games about ancient Asian battles. As a kid I tried my hardest to appreciate Romance of the Three Kingdoms or Nobonaga's Ambition, but there was something about the slow pace of these titles that made me run back to my fast-paced Contra and Mario games. To this day I have never figured out how to play those games, but clearly somebody has, because Koei continues to pump out sequel after sequel. Uncharted Waters was the first Koei game I truly "got." It was a more traditional role-playing game with high seas action and enough swashbuckling to hold me over. Well, hold me over until this vastly superior sequel, Uncharted Waters: New Horizons. This is only Koei's second Virtual Console game (the other being Romance of the Three Kingdoms IV), but it's a must-buy. The game gives you the option of playing through multiple stories, it features fantastic storytelling and gives us an adventure in a time and place very few people have seen in a role-playing game. It's not the fast action romp that other recent Virtual Console games have been, but Uncharted Waters: New Horizons deserves to be discovered.
Does It Still Hold Up?
Koei was never one of those companies concerned about amazing special effects and superior graphics. It doesn't take more than a few seconds into this game before you realize that Uncharted Waters is not going to be a visual tour de force. Instead it's a modest game full of simple graphics and basic backgrounds. But what it lacks in graphics it more than makes up for in storytelling. If you can get past the outdated visuals you will discover an exciting adventure game that you'll want to play over and over again.
Is It Worth the Money?
This is one of those rare Super NES role-playing games that has been all but forgotten in this fast-paced 21st century industry. The graphics aren't much to look at and the game starts out a little slow, but that's nothing you can't overcome when you're playing one of the best 16-bit RPGs ever made. If you're a fan of pirates, swashbuckling and romanticized high seas storytelling, then Uncharted Waters: New Horizons is the game for you!
WiiWare Limerick Theater
Every week Nintendo announces their new Virtual Console offerings. But what you may not know is that they also announce the newest games for the Wii's specialized WiiWare channel. This is the place where you can download cheap smaller games, the type of titles you would only pay a few dollars for. Thus far we haven't spent much time covering these hidden gems, but today that's going to end. Starting today we're going to cover the WiiWare line-up just as we would any other section. To keep things consistent, we have decided to post all WiiiWare reviews in the form of a limerick. This week I'm going to tell you a rhyming story about DK Games' newest title, Equilibrio.
(DK Games/500 Points)
Equilibrio is DK's brand new puzzle game. And I hear that it's more of the same. But what can I say about a game I didn't play, when the name of your game is so lame?
The Great DSiWare Metaphor
If we're going to open the flood gates for the WiiWare, then we might as well also talk about the DSiWare. Gamers who picked up the just-released Nintendo DSi are now able to buy bite-size games in all shapes and sizes. To help get the word out about these specialized DSi downloads, we thought it would be fun to review each of the games by using everybody's favorite type of description - the metaphor! This week we catch up with five brand new DSiWare games, all of which can be downloaded now via your Nintendo DSi!
Hoping that Art Style: AQUIA is going to be Tetris is like watching Mack & Me and expecting E.T.!
Bird & Beans
Trying to figure out what Bird & Beans means is like that when your father tried to convince you that your little brother was delivered by a stork.
Brain Age Express: Math
Brain Age Express is like that nerdy kid you buddied up with when you were studying for a math test, but wouldn't take to that slammin' party.
Master of Illusion Express: Funny Face
Thinking that Master of Illusion Express: Funny Face is going to be good is like expecting to be fully entertained by a six hour Celine Dion concert.
Briefly playing Wario Ware: Snapped! is like only getting one piece of candy on Halloween!
The Argument Over Xbox Live Arcade
Now that you've had your fill of the Virtual Console, maybe it's time to check out This Week in Xbox Live Arcade. This is the part of our show where we take a look at the brand new Xbox Live Arcade titles, and then review them using our unique POINT/COUNTERPOINT style. In these reviews I will make a solid point about a game, and then I will argue the other side just to confuse everything. What do I really think about this week's Xbox Live Arcade game? I guess you'll never know. Instead you get what has to be the single least useful review ever posted on this website. This week we take a look at two brand new Xbox Live Arcade games. The first is FLOCK!, the much-anticipated Capcom puzzler. Speaking of puzzlers, we also take a look at Puzzle Quest: Galactix, the spin-off to one of 2007's best games.
I fell in love with this quirky little puzzle game when I played it at E3 last year, and now that it's out I say that it's definitely worth a look. The game is filled with levels and has a cute sense of humor. Best of all, it doesn't look or feel like any other puzzle game on the Xbox Live Arcade (or any other system for that matter). If you like UFOs and herding, then FLOCK! is the game for you.
After releasing games like Bionic Commando Rearmed and Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, I don't think Capcom needs to yell at us. Seriously, what's with the capitalized title followed by the exclamation mark? Just because you can yell, that doesn't mean that I should pay attention to your no-name game. Download the demo and see if this wacky puzzler is for you.
Puzzle Quest: Galactrix
Puzzle Quest was my 2007 Game of the Year, so I couldn't be more excited about this spin-off. After playing the PC version I was a bit disappointed, but everything seems to be on track for this Xbox Live Arcade port. I love the game's sci-fi theme and can't wait to learn every skill and earn every achievement point. Until the real Puzzle Quest comes alone, Galactrix will have to hold me over.
Oh hell no! You say you remember playing the PC version, but clearly you've lost your mind because Puzzle Quest: Galactrix is one of the most disappointing games ever released. The only way this Xbox Live Arcade release is going to be better is if they go in and change the game back to the traditional Puzzle Quest. And they are charging $20 for this crap? D3 and Microsoft have a lot of nerve. Check the demo a try, but Galactrix pales in comparison to the original Puzzle Quest!