Retro Round-up for July 26

Retro Round-up for July 26

Written by Cyril Lachel on 7/26/2007 for PS3   Wii   360  

Devil's Crush (Virtual Console)
What Is It?
Devil's Crush is the sequel to Alien Crush, the popular TurboGrafx-16 pinball game that was released earlier this year on the Virtual Console. With its darker atmosphere, better mini-games and more creative board, Devil's Crush is the one pinball game to buy. That's not to say that Alien Crush is completely useless, but once you've had a taste of this sequel you'll never want to go back to that other pinball game. The game's ominous theme is enhanced by its enemies: wandering skeleton knights, sorcerers and even a giant face that changes from a goddess to a sinister serpent. Where the game excels is when you start to get into the exciting mini-games and boss battles. Couple those exciting mini-games with a great multiplayer experience and you have one of the best Virtual Console games currently available.
 
Does It Still Hold Up?
Pinball will always hold up. No matter how amazing the newest first-person shooter is, or how realistic the newest racing simulator is, or even how long the newest role-playing game is, pinball is here to stay. Some could argue that the physics in Devil's Crush aren't as realistic as a real pinball game, but who cares? It's not like anything else in this game is especially realistic. Pinball is the type of game anybody can enjoy, no matter who you are or where you came from. Devil's Crush holds up especially well because there's nothing else like it, the board is absolutely crazy with some of the coolest hidden areas I've ever seen.
 
Is It Worth the Money?
At a mere six dollars Devil's Crush is a steal. While you probably won't want to sit down and play ten straight hours of Devil's Crush, this is the kind of game you will come back to time and time again. Heck, I've owned the game for almost twenty years and I still bring it up every so often to beat my high scores and challenge my friends. Alien Crush is fun, but Devil's Crush is the game to get!
 

 
Kirby's Dream Course (Virtual Console)
What Is It?
How the heck did I miss this game the first time around? Kirby's Dream Course was released for the Super NES in late 1994, around the same time that our collective focus started to drift over to the upcoming 32-bit systems. For some odd reason Kirby's Dream Course - a strange combination of platforming action and a miniature golf game - just got lost in the news of amazing polygonal graphics and CD technology. But don't let the release fool you, Kirby's Dream Course is a phenomenal game that is worth rediscovering ... even if you're not the kind of person who normally likes golf games. Forget for a moment that this is essentially a sports game; Dream Course has a funny way of using the fundamentals of putt-putt golf and adding in some cool power-ups and platformer elements. Each level starts with a set amount of enemies on screen that you will have to roll over, do that and a hole will appear and you're off to the next level. In total there are eight different courses, with a grand total of 64 holes in all. The game may not play by the same rules of golf, but there's no denying that this is a great variation on the tired old sport.
 
 
Does It Still Hold Up?
While I had a few problems with the control, all in all I had a great time with Kirby's Dream Course. Not only is this a solid one-player game, but this is a blast with a bunch of friends over. There's just nothing quite like it on the Virtual Console ... or any console for that matter. The levels start out small and simple, but by the time you've worked your way through the various levels you'll start to see some real cool course designs. Sure it has a few minor problems here and there, but Kirby's Dream Course is so much fun that you'll have no problem forgiving the game's imperfections.
 
Is It Worth the Money?
For me this $8 download was a no-brainer, I love putt-putt golf and I missed this game the first time around. The nice thing about this game is that there's so much to do, especially if you're playing this game with multiple people. Eight dollars still seems a bit steep for a 13 year old Super NES game, but this is one game you'll be going back to time and time again. Unless you can find the Super NES cartridge cheaper, I say go download this Virtual Console version.
 

Shining Force (Virtual Console)
What Is It?
In ages long forgotten, Light fought Darkness for control of the world. Finally, the Ancients defeated the evil ruler of the dark forces known as Dark Dragon and cast him into another dimension, though he vowed to return in 1,000 years. As time passed, all memory of Dark Dragon was buried, and the land of Rune enjoyed 10 centuries of peace. Yet, as promised, the dark ruler returned, along with hordes of evil creatures that ravaged the land. As chaos erupted, several strongholds of Good still held out, awaiting a hero who could wield the Powers of Light.
 
Does It Still Hold Up?
While the story may seem a bit generic at times, Shining Force is an easy game to pick up and enjoy. This 16-bit adventure game is actually rather easy to learn how to play, none of the gameplay elements or characters are too complex. The good news is that the challenge has held up well and the graphics are actually pretty cool, the art style of the one-on-one encounters is actually some of the best I've seen on the Virtual Console. The gameplay won't blow you away, but really, when was the last time you were truly impressed with how a role-playing game played?
 
Is It Worth the Money?
The problem with the Virtual Console is that the game selection is completely out of balance. While there are a ton of great 2D shooters and platformers, there are very few quality role-playing games available. And it's not just on the Virtual Console, but the Wii itself is suffering from a drought of good RPGs. Thankfully Sega has decided to step up and deliver one of their best 16-bit adventure games for the download service. While I quibble at the eight dollar asking price, the truth is that you can't get Shining Force anywhere else (it's not currently available on any of those Sega compilations) and it's definitely worth the price given the length and quality story. Hopefully this will mean that we'll start to see other Sega RPGs on the system, including Shining in the Darkness and Shining Force II.

 
Super Contra (Xbox Live Arcade)
What Is It?
Before we get too far into describing Super Contra let's make one thing clear: The Contra games most people like are the titles released on home consoles. That's not to say that the arcade Contra games are bad, but they are nowhere near as memorable as the amazing (and extended) ports found on the Nintendo Entertainment System. This little bit of information is important to keep in mind when you're getting ready to play this Super Contra port on the Xbox Live Arcade. This Live Arcade version, based on the 1988 arcade game, is a brutal experience full of cheap deaths, ugly graphics and lame weapons. In other words, it's exactly like the first XBLA game ... only without all the charm. While there have been a few changes here and there (such as new upgradable weapons and larger levels), most of Super Contra remains the same. There's still a lot of exciting action in the game, but if you've played the NES port of this game (Super C) then there's absolutely no reason to buy this. On the plus side you do get achievement points and slightly enhanced graphics (that you can turn on and off).  
 
Does It Still Hold Up?
The first two Contra games on the NES are still two of the best 2D shooters of all time, they are full of great ideas and non-stop action. These arcade games, on the other hand, are almost painful to sit through. It's hard to put your finger on just what makes those NES games so much better, but there's no denying that these arcade games pale in comparison to what Konami was able to do on Nintendo's 8-bitter. The graphics and controls are okay, but the simplistic nature of the game won't hold your interest for long ... which is fine because the game is extremely short.
 
Is It Worth the Money?
Don't buy Super Contra! Maybe it should feel wrong to bluntly tell people not to buy a Contra game, but after a decade's worth of terrible Contra titles the part of me that would feel sorry for Konami's long-running franchise has died. If you really must play a Contra sequel make sure it's Super C for the NES. This second Xbox Live Arcade Contra game is actually worse than the first ... and that's saying something! Contra is meant to be enjoyed, and as far as I can tell these arcade Contra games aren't enjoyable.
 

 
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PlayStation Network)
What Is It?
It's only the greatest Castlevania game ever made! It's Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the first game in the series to feature the Metroid-style game play (where it's a wide open world for you to explore, as opposed to the traditional level-based structure). You play Alucard, the son of Dracula, ready to exact revenge on his poppa, the castle and pretty much anything that moves. In the beginning you are stripped of all of your powerful belongings, so it's up to you to earn back all of your abilities, armor and weapons. Along the way you'll battle tons of enemies, gain all sorts of cool special moves (like turning into a bat) and explore the castle in two different ways. While not the first third party game on the PlayStation Network (that honor goes to Tekken), Symphony of the Night is a step in the right direction for people who want more than Sony's first party offerings. Xbox 360 owners may remember this game coming to the Live Arcade a few months ago, but now PlayStation 3 owners that didn't already own the PS1 disc can see what all the fuss was about. The PlayStation 3 version does not feature achievements or any of the bells and whistles found in the Xbox Live Arcade port, but you do get slightly better quality music with this PlayStation Network version. Regardless of which version you end up picking up, there's no denying that Symphony of the Night is one of the best action/adventure games of all time and deserves to be experienced one way or another.
 
Does It Still Hold Up?
Oh heavens yes, it's hard to imagine a time when the familiar 2D gameplay of Castlevania wouldn't hold up. Konami has tried 3D Castlevania games in the past, but they keep coming back to the old 2D formula because it works perfectly for this type of game. While the PlayStation Network has seen a number of classic PS1 games re-released for the PlayStation 3 (and PSP), none of them are quite like Symphony of the Night, which makes this Castlevania stand out even more than it normally would have. There's no doubt about it, Symphony of the Night is just as fun today as it was ten years ago, and its ageless beauty will no doubt keep it relevant long after this 10th anniversary passes.
 
Is It Worth the Money?
Given the timeless nature of the game and its lengthy adventure, there's no doubt that this PlayStation Network game is worth your ten dollars. While it may not have any online stuff or be much different from the original PlayStation game, Symphony of the Night is still a great value. I have a hard time believing that anybody who buys this game will be disappointed, and as far as I'm concerned this is the best classic game currently available on the PlayStation 3. Best of all, when you buy the game off the PlayStation Network you can use it on your PSP, which may just give this version a leg up when compared to its Xbox Live Arcade counterpart.

* 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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