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
Apparently this is the week for mini-game compilations. First up we have a Virtual Console game that allows you to play seven incredibly ugly sports. And then there's our Xbox Live Arcade release, which gives us four classic board games ... at a steep cost. Find out which of these games is actually worth your money (here's a hint: neither). Plus, check out three more GameTap haikus when you read this week's exciting episode of the Retro Round-Up!
Summer Games II
What Is It?
When Nintendo began offering Commodore 64 games on the Virtual Console I had some mixed feelings. On one hand I'm happy to preserve these long-forgotten gems; however the five dollar asking price felt a little steep for a bunch of games that, to be perfectly honest, haven't held up particularly well. Unfortunately my opinion hasn't changed much with Summer Games II. This is another one of those supposed "classics" that those in-the-know always rattle on about. It's a collection of seven different sports, most of which would fit right at home in your basic Olympics game. You get the triple jump, high jump, rowing, javelin throwing, equestrian, fencing, kayaking and cycling. None of these events are bad, but none of them feel very complete. They suffer from poor graphics, bad play control, crummy sound and no real incentive to progress. Thankfully the game does offer something new to the Virtual Console, eight-player gaming. On your own there's no reason to play Summer Games II, but with a bunch of friends over this tragically outdated game suddenly becomes THE must-own Commodore 64 title.
Does It Still Hold Up?
Let me just get one thing out of the way right off the bat, Summer Games II has horrific gameplay. Think the button mashing gameplay of Konami's Track & Field is misguided? Well, you ain't seen nothing yet. And just when you think the controls can't get any worse, you then move on to the next sport with even worse play control. Couple that with terrible graphics and the worst music ever and you have a game that definitely does not hold up.
Is It Worth the Money?
So let me get this right, it's not even spring yet and we're playing Summer Games II? Regardless of how stupid that seems, there is some fun to be had in this classic Epyx release. If you have a bunch of friends over this game is hard to resist, even if it does offer terrible play control. Playing it with a big group of friends may be worth the $5, but I would skip Summer Games II if you plan on flying solo. I remember when this game was the creme of the crop, now it's hardly a footnote in history.
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. Instead you get what has to be the single least useful review ever posted on this website. This week we have the Hasbro Family Game Night, which is actually four Xbox Live Arcade games. But don't worry; we're only going to count them as one.
Hasbro Family Game Night
(Xbox Live Arcade/$10 Each)
Yahtzee! Connect 4! Battleship! Scrabble! These are some of the best board games ever made, and now I can play them online. These are simple games that work perfectly on the game system, especially when you factor in the achievement points. Best of all, you can play these four games inside of a whole other Xbox Live Arcade game, so it's like a game inside of a game. How can you not love that?
I can't believe you're actually defending this crap. First of all, these games are hideously overpriced. $10 for Connect 4? Maybe I would be interested if these titles were $5 each, but paying $40 to get four games just seems like highway robbery. At least Carcassonne and Catan are European board games that would cost quite a bit to import, I can certainly justify paying ten bucks for one of those games. But not for Battleship. You're better off just buying the real thing, it would certainly be cheaper. EA and Hasbro should have looked at the success of Uno and followed that pricing structure. Avoid these games at all cost!
Last Week in GameTap
Can't get enough Virtual Console and Xbox Live Arcade? Do you need yet another online service full of top tier retro games? Perhaps you should try GameTap
. Each week you'll find classic PC, arcade and console games uploaded to the GameTap servers. Some of these games are free; others are part of the Gold level membership. In this column we take a look at last week's releases. Why last week? Because GameTap no longer announces their Thursday line-up before these episodes go to press. As a result you get slightly out of date reviews of GameTap games, all told through the ancient art of haiku poetry.
Freak Out: Extreme Freeride
Zappa's first album!
Like on a moonage daydream!
Obscure music quotes!
Insecticide Part 1
No, that was Incesticide!
Music on my brain.
It's not a great game.
Wannabe GTA clone.
Parachutes are fun.