Retro Round-up for December 19

Retro Round-up for December 19

Written by Cyril Lachel on 12/19/2008 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's been a month since we last brought you an episode of the Retro Round-Up. We've been vexed by Thanksgiving and then Cyril coming down with a bad case of the flu. In that time we've had plenty of retro releases piling up, including releases for the Virtual Console, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and GameTap. So this week we've decided to take a look back and recap all of the retro games released since our last episode of the Retro Round-Up. So get ready for a larger-than-normal episode of everybody's favorite retro show, the Retro Round-Up!


Boogerman: A Pick and Flick Adventure (Genesis)
What Is It?
This is the week of Thanksgiving, so what better time to unleash a game called Boogerman: A Pick and Flick Adventure? Okay, the day you sit down and overeat with your family is probably not the best time to play a game where the hero picks his nose and uses it as a weapon. Then again, is there ever a time where talking about Boogerman is appropriate? I think not. In a lot of ways Boogerman represents the American gaming scene in the 1990s. This was a decade where people were demanding bigger and grosser games. We weren't satisfied with the Japanese fighting games like Street Fighter or Final Fight; instead we needed our virtual pugilists to shower their opponents with blood and guts. The same was true with the 2D platforming scene; we didn't want another boring old Sonic or Mario game, we wanted people to fart, burp and pick their nose. We wanted to make sure that every mother or father that went to their local game store knew that video games were meant for 10 year old boys, not sophisticated young adults. The good news is that Boogerman is a surprisingly good looking game, with fluid animation and some interesting levels. However, it's impossible for me to look at this game without thinking that maybe it's not the best ambassador for video game culture. Obviously they are going for gross here, but to me it just feels more inauthentic and, worse yet, extremely immature. If you're a ten year old boy then you'll probably like it, everybody else should just ignore this week's Virtual Console release.

Does It Still Hold Up?
Although limited, the gameplay is as solid as you would want from a game called Boogerman. Our hero has a few moves that are easy to pull off, but most of the game he'll just be jumping on bad guys, dodging projectile attacks and making his way from left to right. Perhaps the best part of this package is the graphics, which even now look really strong. If you can make it past how ludicrous the idea is then you'll find a game with good production values, but you really have to be in the right kind of mindset to enjoy a game called Boogerman.

Is It Worth The Money?
I can understand people having nostalgia for this game, it's not like there were a lot of games out there that revolved around the hero farting on enemies. In some ways this is like a Howard Stern skit brought to life ... or, at least brought to video game life. Either way, Boogerman is a solid 2D platformer wrapped in one of the most unappealing packages you will ever see. I can't imagine anybody who loved the game 13 years ago would find this anything but reprehensible now. But maybe I'm wrong; perhaps there is still a market out there for Boogerman. I don't personally enjoy it, but if you're a 10 year old boy who loves fart jokes, then this game is mades specifically for you.

Boogerman


Enduro Racer (Master System)
What Is It?
When the Sega Master System was launched in the mid-1980s one of the debut titles was Hang-On, the exciting port of one of the best arcade racers (of the time). Fans embraced the game's fast-paced action and solid controls; it was a perfect example of the type of experience we wanted from our 3D racing games. Enduro Racer ignores everything we learned in Hang-On and creates a racing game that is mildly entertaining, but not as good as what has come before it. Enduro Racer is a lot like a cross between Hang-On and the NES classic, Excitebike. Instead of being 3D (or even 2D), the game uses a strange isometric angle that can be a little confusing, but ultimately manageable. Despite the different camera angle, you control Enduro Racer exactly as you would Hang-On or any other faux-3D game of that era. You can't really move in or out of the screen, but you can dodge things left and right, which is something ... I guess. The good news is that Enduro Racer is not the worst game on the Sega Master System, but that doesn't mean you should spend even a dollar on this turd!

Does It Still Hold Up?
Don't be confused by the game's weird angle, when it comes right down to it this is basically just a rip-off of Excitebike. The problem is, this game is nowhere near as exciting as Excitebike. The controls are sluggish, the obstacles are hard to dodge and the camera angle makes everything as painful as possible. I'm sure there are people out there that can find some fun in this Master System racer, but I would say that it definitely does not hold up.

Is It Worth The Money?
This is one of those Sega Master System games I bought at a used game store for around a buck, and even then I felt a little ripped off. At five dollars it's hard to justify buying this game, especially with so many other (better) racing games on the Virtual Console. This was an interesting experiment on the Master System, but twenty years later there's no need to further that experiment.

Enduro

Metal Slug 2
(Neo Geo)
What Is It?

Metal Slug 2 is more than the sequel to SNK's top ranked Contra-like series. It's more than just another game where you go around shooting every bad guy that gets in the way. It's the game that actually elevates the franchise to a whole new level, giving us cool new weapons, vehicles and some of the most memorable levels of all of the Metal Slug games. And best of all, it's just in time for SNK Playmore's release of Metal Slug 7 on the Nintendo DS. This 2D shooter is a bit antiquated by today's standards, but that shouldn't keep you from having a great time running through the levels either with a friend or by yourself. What sets this series apart from all of the other 2D shooters is its attention to small details, especially when it comes to character animations. The game is funny, which is not something you can say about more games in the genre. It's not without a few problems, but Metal Slug 2 is definitely a lot of fun.

Does It Still Hold Up?
I know I bring this up every time I review a Metal Slug game, but why the heck can't I shoot diagonally? This is one of those things that should have been rectified in the second game, yet a half dozen games later and we're still dealing with this problem. Outside of that, the game exists entirely because of the amazing animation and crazy enemies you have to kill. It feels a bit dated, but there's no doubt that the bulk of Metal Slug 2 still holds up well.

Is It Worth The Money?
While I'm giving this game a caution, the truth is that you probably shouldn't buy Metal Slug 2. It's not that it's a bad game, because it's not. It's not that you shouldn't experience this game at least once in your life. It's that you could buy the entire Metal Slug Anthology on the Nintendo Wii for a mere $30. Heck, at this point you can probably find it for under $20! That's seven different games for a few dollars more. If you wanted to buy all of the Neo Geo Metal Slug games you would be paying close to $60, but for $20 - $30 you can get a near complete collection and never have to worry about how much hard drive space you have left. That's definitely the way to go. If you simply must buy these games on the Virtual Console so be it, but I would personally wait until they upload Metal Slug 3.

Metal Slug
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Master System)
What Is It?
At first glance you might think that this is a Sonic the Hedgehog game you have never played. After all, this is a Sega Master System game that never actually made it to these shores. It was released in Europe and Brazil, but never in the United States. But hold on just one moment ... because this Sonic the Hedgehog outing actually was released in the U.S., just not on the Sega Master System. Confused? Don't be, because this 8-bit platformer was released on the Sega Game Gear, and then later on various Sonic the Hedgehog collections on the Xbox, GameCube and PlayStation 2. But just because the game has had a storied history, that doesn't mean you shouldn't check out what is actually a really fun Sonic game. Genesis fans going in expecting a game of the same quality as the 16-bit Sonic the Hedgehog 2 should probably look elsewhere, because this 8-bit game can't quite hit the same heights as its bigger brother. But what it can do is offer a fun little adventure that, for a mere five dollars, is just enough Sonic to make you completely forget about how terrible the last ten years have been to Sega's blue mascot.

Does It Still Hold Up?
There's something about the 2D Sonic games that will always hold up, even when they are a slightly floaty 8-bit variation. This Sonic sequel isn't just a dumbed down port of a 16-bit game, it's a fully-fledged adventure that is just as much fun as the bigger console games. Portable, on your TV, no matter where you play it Sonic the Hedgehog 2 holds up remarkably well.

Is It Worth The Money?
It's not just the fact that I'm a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog, though I'm sure I'm guilty of that. The reason you should buy this is because it's a cheap way to remind yourself how good this franchise used to be. This 8-bit game isn't nearly as fast or ambitious as its 16-bit counterpart, but at $5 you'll hardly care. Better still, this is a Sonic game you've probably never played before, which makes it all the more worthwhile. There are a few control problems and the game is kind of floaty, but that shouldn't keep you from having a great time playing through Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Sega Master System!

Sonic 2

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
(XBLA/PSN)
What Is It?

The cynic in me wants to say that this is just another Street Fighter II game on the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. But Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is more than just another port ... it's a completely redrawn remake that takes everything you love about the original game and makes it, well, more attractive. The truth is, this $15 release doesn't attempt to rewrite the rules of Street Fighter, it's job is to give you the exact same game, only this time with hand drawn HD graphics. Fans of the series already know that this release has been a long time in the coming; Capcom announced this game two years ago and have only hinted at its release up until now. But now it's here, and it was definitely worth the wait. The gameplay is exactly what you would expect and the graphics are outstanding. It features all of the Street Fighter II characters you love (including the new fighters you hate) and is all presented in gorgeous HD. Without leaping headfirst into a pool of hyperbole, this is by far the best Super Street Fighter II Turbo has looked ... and likely ever will look. Buy this game to see the new graphics and remixed tunes. Buy this game to finally be able to play relatively lag-free online matches. Buy this game to remind yourself why you loved Street Fighter II in the first place. Buy this game to bone up on your moves before Street Fighter IV comes out in a few months. It doesn't matter why you buy this game, just as long as you buy it.

Does It Still Hold Up?
The graphics may be new, but the gameplay is straight out of the 1990s. When it comes to the play mechanics nothing has changed; this is still the same old amazing Street Fighter experience you remember in the arcade. The graphics may not be enough to attract non-fighting game fans to the series, but there's no denying how pretty this game looks. It's worth buying this game just to see how Capcom (and artists, Udon) have updated the game's background graphics.

Is It Worth The Money?
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is more than just a really long name, it's also the best Xbox Live Arcade game since Braid. Fans of Street Fighter already know what they're getting themselves into, however this is the first time in more than a dozen years where those fans will be able to experience the game in a different way. The gameplay and characters are all the same, but you'll be on the edge of your seat wanting to know what each of the game's sixteen levels look like and how Udon has updated the character's graphics and animation. Best of all, you can go in and play the game without all of the cool extra graphics and backgrounds. Couple this with a great online mode and you have one of the best downloadable games of the year. Of course you should buy this game!

SF2


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!

In the time I was gone I managed to miss talking about several different episodes of American McGee's Grimm. And from the email I received today, this week's episode is the final episode of the season. That's right, the final episode! That means I can stop talking about this series for at least a few months (hopefully longer). For those that care, this week's final episode is a Christmas-themed adventure called A Christmas Carol. And best of all, you can play the game for free from now until the very end of 2008. In case you aren't keeping track, that's two weeks! So what are you waiting for? If you haven't had a chance to check out this series then maybe this will be the game that turns you into a fan.

Moving on, this week we also have a few free games to talk about. That's right, I said free! And I'm not just talking about free to paying members, I'm talking about free games that you can play for free right now. Like what? Well, for one week only you can check out The King of Fighters 2003! Oh, and you can still play the original Fallout for free no matter who you are. While The King of Fighters 2003 is far from my favorite SNK fighting game, it's great to see GameTap add another classic game to their line-up ... even if I have a hard time calling a game from 2003 "classic".
 
Paying subscribers aren't left out in the cold this week, either. Gold level subscribers will be able to check out Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War: Gold. I know a lot of people who love the Warhammer franchise, so if you're a paying subscriber maybe you should check out this four year old real-time strategy game. Or don't, see if I care. I'm just glad to be back telling you all about GameTap's offerings.

Gametap

* 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.
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