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
Last week we super-sized our coverage with reviews of SEVEN games. That's right, seven. Unfortunately this week we come back down to Earth. This week we only have one game for the Xbox Live Arcade and one game for the Virtual Console. Thankfully both games are worth checking out. Find out which game comes out on top when you read this week's Retro Round-Up!
(Virtual Console/700 Points)
What Is It?
Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! was one of Nintendo's earliest hits. It mixed cartoony action with pattern memorization to create one of the most compelling sports games for the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment Systems. Not only was it incredibly easy to learn how to play, but the cast of characters were second to none. Fast forward seven years and we have Super Punch-Out!!, a pseudo-sequel to the popular NES game. The gameplay hasn't changed much, you play a slightly transparent boxer who must dodge and punch his way to victory. The over-the-top cast of characters all have comical attacks, along with defined vulnerabilities that you will have to master if you want to stand a chance. The graphics are outstanding from beginning to end. Each and every pugilist has their own unique style. The animation is also top notch. If it wasn't for the transparent boxer you would think that this was something out of a Saturday morning cartoon. If you're a fan of single-player boxing games, you can't do any better than Super Punch-Out!!
Does It Still Hold Up?
Yes the graphics are amazing. Yes the animations are sharp. Yes each and every character is impressively detailed. No matter how many good things you say about Super Punch-Out's presentation, it doesn't make up for the fact that the gameplay hasn't changed much in seven years. You still play the game exactly how you would have on the original NES, the only difference are the detailed graphics. It would have been nice to see some sort of multiplayer mode added or something to extend the life of this game. Outside of that one complaint, Super Punch-Out!! holds up remarkably well.
Is It Worth the Money?
Seeing as we already had the original Punch-Out!! (though, sadly not Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!), so this Super NES "sequel" was inevitable. The good news is that it's worth the money, even if you already own the 8-bit original. The graphics are sharp and I'm a big fan of memorizing people's patterns. This 16-bit title could have used a few more modes and options, but it's still a lot of fun all these years later. Let's hope that Nintendo can keep the quality alive with their release of the Punch-Out remake for the Wii, scheduled for this June!
This Week in 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. This week we have The Dishwasher, a game that originated as an XNA project. Does it hold up? Find out now when we debate this fast playing action game!
The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai
(Ska Software/800 Points)
This indie-darling started its life as a simple XNA game and is now one of the most exciting Xbox Live Arcade games of the year. This fast action sidescroller combines the action of Nintendo's Kung Fu with the over-the-top violence of Kill Bill. It's a visually arresting game full of creative touches and a killer soundtrack. The Dishwasher is a must-play action game, and not just because you want to support the indie game scene.
Do you remember last year when Microsoft had their Summer of Xbox Live Arcade promotion? During those few weeks we got some of the strongest XBLA games ever released, like Bionic Commando Rearmed, Braid, Castle Crashers and Geometry Wars 2. This time around it's the Days of Arcade and we get ... an XNA game? Lode Runner? Hasbro Family Game Night? If these are the Days of Arcade, then maybe I won't feel so bad sleeping through them.