Retro Round-up for August 15th

Retro Round-up for August 15th

Written by Cyril Lachel on 8/15/2008 for PS3   Wii   360  

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. It has taken us a full week to digest and get over the deception of last week. But don't worry; we're back on track ... even if it means that we don't get to talk about Mega Man and Samurai Shodown II. This week would have been the perfect time for Nintendo to capitalize on the Bionic Commando Rearmed madness by releasing the original 8-bit NES game, but instead they chose to give us two TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine games. But don't worry Radd Spencer fans; we'll get around to talking about Bionic Commando towards the end of this episode. Throw in a little American McGee's Grimm and you have a pretty solid episode of This Week in Defunct Games!

Break In
What Is It?
Now here's a game that sounded like a lot of fun. Could this be the long-lost TurboGrafx break dancing game? Of course not, because that would make too much sense. Okay, then is it a game where you're robbing a bank? Nope, it's not even that cool. So what is it? It's ... a billiards simulator? Well, at least it's hitting a niche that you normally don't see on the Virtual Console, right? What's that, it's not even the first pool game on the Virtual Console? Oh, that's right, I completely forgot about Lunar Pool, a much more original game of billiards. Instead of being creative or interesting, Break In is your basic pool simulator, complete with six different types of pool. While the physics are a little weird and the game isn't always easy to control, there is a nice variety and it's fun to play with friends. Break In isn't as cool as the name implies, but it's not as bad as it could have been.


Does It Still Hold Up?
The controls are a little wonky, especially when it comes to making pixel perfect shots. Worse yet, the ball physics are all over the place. The good news is that after a few games you can start to predict the game's shortcomings. But seriously, should we have to be able to do that? Couldn't Nintendo just upload a better playing game of pool?

Is It Worth Playing?
If you're hard up for a pool simulator with questionable physics, then maybe you should head on over to one of the free pool simulators found on the web. I'll be honest with you, I had a lot of fun playing this game with a friend, but you can have just as much fun playing this game for free elsewhere. I also can't recommend this for the simple fact that there are better 8- and 16-bit pool games. I'm not sure those games are on the way, but assuming they are you would hate to spend the money on this mediocre release. It may only be a few bucks, but it's definitely not worth it.


Star Parodier

What Is It?
Think there are too many shooters on the Virtual Console? Well, maybe you're right, but don't tell that to Star Parodier, one of the wackiest shooters I have ever played. What's more, this is the first Virtual Console game I've recommended in what seems like months (maybe not months,but it has been three weeks). Up until now Star Parodier for the TurboDuo was only available in Japan, so chances are even the most hardcore Turbo fan probably missed this gem. It's by the same people that developed the Star Soldier series; only instead of being deathly serious it's actually a parody. Basically this is Hudson Soft's attempt at Konami's amazing Parodius franchise. That sounds bad, but what Hudson was able to do with this game is so, so good. Every single level is full of new and interesting things, from Bomberman boss fights to killer geese to flying underwater). And just when you think the game has gone as far as it can, it turns around and shows you something you never thought possible. It's not the most original game, but it's definitely one of the most original shooters available for the Virtual Console.


Does It Still Hold Up?
It's a shooter; you either love them or hate them. The good news is that this is a crazy shooter with new graphics, weapons, enemies and surprises around every corner. The gameplay is fast and exciting, and you'll keep playing (no matter how many times you die) just to see all of the weird levels and enemies. This is a strange game that a lot of people are going to discover for the very first time.

Is It Worth Playing?
Remember how I've been telling you not to buy terrible games and save your money for something better? Well, that something better just showed up. This may not be the deepest shooter out there, but it sure is the most entertaining one I've seen in a while. It's also really funny. Well, not REALLY funny, but it is super silly. A lot of the charm comes from recognizing elements from Hudson's other games, a number of them already available on the Virtual Console. Best of all, this $9 game hasn't been available in the U.S. until now, so Turbo fans should be doing everything in their power to fit this game in their refrigerator ... er, I mean, hard drive.Bionic Commando: Rearmed
What Is It?
It's Capcom's remake of their seminal 8-bit NES game from twenty years ago. In this game you play THE Bionic Commando (not to be confused with Jamie Sommers or Col. Steve Austin) who is on a mission to rescue Super Joe. But who cares about the story when this update looks so damn good? This isn't some 3D reboot of the Bionic Commando (that's coming later this year), instead it's a fully realized remake of the 1988 classic. It has the same levels, the same layouts, the same cast of characters and the same gameplay. Oh sure, they've added some stuff, but fans of the original game will immediately recognize what Capcom was able to do here. On top of being a fantastic action game, Bionic Commando: Rearmed also allows your friends to take part, complete with single- and multi-screen multiplayer. Throw in some challenge missions, cool achievements, and some catchy remixes of the music and you have one of the best Xbox Live Arcade games around (not the best, however, that honor belongs to Braid).


Does It Still Hold Up?
This isn't going to surprise anybody older than 25, but the original Bionic Commando is REALLY hard. It's not just that the game is full of cheap hits and large pits; it's that the game doesn't allow you to jump. You may think that's not a big deal, but I assure you that it's going to take you a few levels to fully get used to it. Thankfully this doesn't ruin the experience; in fact, in a lot of ways the game actually feels different (and sets itself apart from the pack) because of this limitation. It really makes you have to think about how you're going to use your bionic arm, which is the whole point of the game. It may feel strange at first, but Bionic Commando: Rearmed definitely holds up.

Is It Worth Playing?
Of course it's worth buying, it's a phenomenal remake of one of the greatest 8-bit games of all time. So if you already know it's good and we have a full review coming in the next few days, then why are we even covering Bionic Commando: Rearmed? Well it's simple; I'm taking this time to remind everybody about my brand new 13-part book-on-tape podcast, Cyril Reads Bionic Commando! Sure this is nothing more than crass advertisement for what the critics are calling "the greatest podcast ever made", but it's not like we have anything else to talk about, right? Oh ... I somehow forgot about this week's Grimm episode at GameTap.




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!

Do you remember the days when it was exciting to cover GameTap? Do you remember the days when every week it seemed like there was at least four or five games you really wanted to play on the GameTap service? Well, those days appear to be numbered ... at least until American McGee's Grimm runs out of episodes. For the third week in a row the only thing worth mentioning is American McGee's Grimm.


Last week I decided to give the game a second chance and try Little Red Riding hood. Thankfully this episode was better, but it still wasn't enough to keep me interested in the series. This week we have The Fisherman and His Wife, which may just be the best episode yet. I can say that because I haven't played it. Thankfully the game is free to play for the first 24 hours, so go check it out. If you liked the first couple episodes and like giving GameTap your money, then you can wait a few days and pick it up for $3.99. Usually that wouldn't be a bad price, but it's about $4 too much for the experience I had.

The only other game released to subscribers was Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, which despite having the word "two" in it, was actually the third game in the recent Prince of Persia series. This wasn't a bad game, but I've never been able to get past the bad attitude that UbiSoft gave the Prince in the final two games of this trilogy. Hopefully they don't make the same mistake with their upcoming Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 reboot. Unfortunately there's nothing new for non-paying subscribers ... unless you count American McGee's Grimm.

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.


About Author

It's questionable how accurate this is, but this is all that's known about Cyril Lachel: A struggling writer by trade, Cyril has been living off a diet of bad games, and a highly suspect amount of propaganda. Highly cynical, Cyril has taken to question what companies say and do, falling ever further into a form of delusional madness. With the help of quality games, and some greener pastures on the horizon, this back-to-basics newsman has returned to provide news so early in the morning that only insomniacs are awake.
View Profile

comments powered by Disqus