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
. This week we have a bona fide classic and, well, a game that is pretty much the opposite of a classic. First up we have Art of Fighting 2, the terrible Neo Geo fighting game. To balance that out, we also have the TurboGrafx-16 version of Chase H.Q. And if that wasn't enough, GameTap is introducing us to a brand new show. Will it be worth your time? Find out now when you read another exciting edition of the Retro Round-Up!
Art of Fighting 2
What Is It?
It's the "exciting" sequel to Art of Fighting, one of the worst playing fighting games released on the Neo Geo. Release two years after the original game, Art of Fighting 2 should have been a lot better than it is. Even Fatal Fury 2 made a stronger argument for why you should play a Neo Geo (and that game was total trash
). The good news is that the game is not confined to a bulky story mode, which was one of my main complaints about the first game. The bad news, though, is except for that feature, nothing else has been improved. There are the token new characters, but the graphics certainly aren't very good, and the backgrounds are the furthest thing from impressive. That's not to say that all Art of Fighting games are bad, I suggest you hold out hope that Nintendo (or SNK, whoever is responsible) will eventually upload Art of Fighting 3, or, as I like to call it, the only good Art of Fighting game. It's not perfect, but compared to these two it might as well be BioShock!
Does It Still Hold Up?
The controls are terrible, the graphic aren't much worse and you'll hate just about every character added to the roster ... outside of that the game is perfect. All joking aside, this game hasn't aged well. It wasn't that strong of a game 14 years ago, but it looks even worse by today's standards. Nothing about this game (not even the name) has held up well.
Is It Worth The Money?
Do you really need to ask me that? By now you should know that if there's a Neo Geo game on the Virtual Console that it must be bad. There have been one or two exceptions, but for the most part SNK has unloaded some of their worst Neo Geo games. Where's Last Blade? Where's Windjammers? Where's Breakers Revenge? Where's Waku Waku 7? Where's Fatal Fury 3? These are the games that should be populating the Virtual Console, not Art of Fighting 2 and King of the Monsters. Are you kidding me? No, don't buy this game; just wait until there's finally a good Neo Geo game uploaded to the Virtual Console.
What Is It?
Long before The Wheelman and Pursuit Force, there was Chase H.Q., a cops and robbers-style racing game that had you pulling over crooks all while endangering the public by driving 200 miles per hour. Originally released in the arcade, Chase H.Q. ended up making its way to more than a dozen consoles and computers. And that's not all; the game would eventually spawn sequels on both the Sega Genesis and Super NES. These days you can see the influence in Sony's Pursuit Force series, but outside of that there aren't too many places to play one of Taito's best games. That is, until now. This TurboGrafx-16 version is a solid port of the arcade game. With only a few cuts made to the game, Chase H.Q. is a fantastic port that is still a joy to play. It's not without a few problems, but even 16 years later Chase H.Q. still manages to be exciting and fresh.
Does It Still Hold Up?
Yes Chase H.Q. is still exciting and fresh, but it's also kind of sluggish and not very good looking. Obviously the TurboGrafx-16 wasn't known for its scaling and rotating power, so the choppy animation may be more than some people can handle. It's also worth mentioning that the game is extremely repetitive, to the point where you may get sick of it after only a few levels. Not that I'm trying to talk you out of playing this game, but you should be warned that this game looks and feels a lot older than other games of the era. The game is still fun, even if some of the presentation and gameplay hasn't held up well.
Is It Worth The Money?
This is a tough call; if you're a fan of this game then this is certainly worth checking out. On the other hand, those who like the concept may have a better time with Chase H.Q. wannabes like Pursuit Force. Either way, the original concept is sound and if you can get past some of this game's imperfections you will find it to be a whole lot of fun. This is almost a recommendation, but the technical issues make me say that you should be cautious of this title.
This Week in GameTap
Still not satisfied with what you're getting on the Virtual Console and Xbox Live Arcade? Then maybe you should head on over to GameTap
! With more than 100 free games currently available, GameTap is one of the best places to play classic games! And every week they are adding brand new titles to the service, including old school games for the Genesis, Neo Geo, Commodore 64 and much, much more. Won't you join us as we take a look at what's going on this week over at GameTap!
This is a big week for GameTap ... but not because of anything retro. This week GameTap is introducing us to their next big episodic franchise, American McGee's Grimm. Best known for being a level designer at id Soft, American McGee has released a number of stand-along games, including the fantastic American McGee's Alice and the disastrous American McGee's Bad Day L.A. Grimm is his newest game, sort of a video game take on a bunch of classic fairy tales. Unfortunately I have not gotten my hands on any of these games, but I will be back very soon with a full review of the first episode. In the mean time you should go and check out the pilot episode, A Boy Learns What Fear Is. Best of all, you won't need to be a Gold Member subscriber to see what all the fuss is about, for the time being this first episode is completely free. So check it out.
In other news, Alien Stars is the big Gold Member game this week. What is Alien Stars? Who cares, this week is all about American McGee's Grimm. I'm sure it's an absolutely wonderful game, but it's hard to compete with a game that is fracturing some of our favorite fairy tales. In case you were wondering, here is Grimm's upcoming schedule: Little Red Riding Hood (August 7), The Fisherman & His Wife (August 14), Puss in Boots (August 21), The Girl Without Hands (August 28), Godfather Death (September 4), The Devil and His Three Golden Hairs (September 11), and finally Beauty & the Beast (September 18). That's right; these episodes are weekly ... take that Sam & Max! Okay, that's enough about Grimm, you need to stop reading this and rush over to GameTap and discover the game for yourself. Then tune in next week to see what I thought of the installment. Now get out of here!