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
Remember last week when we had three Virtual Console games to choose from? If you thought we were going to continue to have that many games each week then you are a fool. This week we get only one game from Nintendo ... but it's a doozey. It's Ogre Battle for the Super NES, which is one of the rarest games ever made. We also have a review of the new Watchmen game and a bunch of not very current titles from GameTap. All this can be yours when you read another exciting episode of the Retro Round-Up!
Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen
(Virtual Console/Super NES/$8)
What Is It?
Just like I was shocked and amazed with last week's Commodore 64 uploads, this week I'm beside myself when it comes to the release of Ogre Battle on the Virtual Console. This is one of the best 16-bit role-playing games of all time, yet for whatever reason, it was released in very limited quantities when it was released over here. I'm talking about 25,000 units available, most of which sold out immediately and have only been sold via eBay and other auction sites. Thankfully average gamers (who are not looking to spend hundreds of dollars on one of the rarest games of all time) will finally be able to see what all the fuss is about. The good news is that this game tells a fantastic story, has incredible graphics and doesn't feel like any other RPG currently on the Virtual Console. It's also long and full of surprises, not bad for an $8 game. This digital version isn't going to replace having the physical (and expensive) copy in your hand, but at least you can afford it.
Does It Still Hold Up?
Absolutely, Ogre Battle is one of the most unique fantasy role-playing games on the Super NES. Unlike popular adventure games from Square and Enix, Ogre Battle stresses real-time strategy, which means that you'll have to pay more attention to who and what you're going up against. The controls are solid, the graphics still look really good and it even sounds great. There are a few things that future "Ogre" games managed to do better, but it's impossible to complain too much about a game as good as this one.
Is It Worth the Money?
With most Virtual Console games you have a choice; you can buy the game for the original system for $5 or spend the same amount of money on the Virtual Console release. That is not the case with Ogre Battle. Your options are limited to buying the game for $8 or going on eBay and spending hundreds of dollars on a used copy that may or may not still have an active battery. This is the safe bet, assuming all you want to do is play the game. As far as I'm concerned this is a must-buy, it's a great role-playing game that most people have never actually experienced. Best of all, it doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Trust me, when you see the alternative, eight dollars is not much to spend.
Watchmen: The End is Nigh
(Xbox Live Arcade/$20)
Another week brings yet another Xbox Live Arcade release. This time around it's Watchmen: The End is Nigh, the episodic game to coincide with the release of the much-anticipated movie. As always we review our Xbox Live Arcade titles by using a POINT/COUNTERPOINT system. Sure it's the least effective way to review a game, but we're going to stick with it ... like it or not!
At this very moment I'm typing this from the line to be the first person to see Watchmen, the crazy-long R-rated superhero movie of the year. And let me tell you, this game definitely got me in the mood. I love these old school brawlers, especially when they are based on what should be an incredible movie. What could go wrong with this game?
Are you daft or just stupid? Look, we've been here before, this is the same thing you say about EVERY game based on a blockbuster movie. Oh the Transformers game, it's going to rock. Oh the Iron Man game, it's going to rock. NO! It's not going to rock!! I'm sorry, but it's a movie game. We all know what that means, rushed production and gameplay that has simply been taking from another game. And did I mention that this game is $20? Yeah, that's twenty, as in twenty dollars too much. Give it a break, this game isn't worth your time. Just wait for Rockstar Games to give us that Warriors game they keep talking about.
Last 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 dozens of 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. So join us as we take a look at GameTap by using the ancient art of haiku poetry!
The Incredible Machine
Remember this game?
It's real old and runs on DOS.
It should have been free!
I avoid running.
I don't get that "runner's high"
I bought the wrong stuff.
I could use some gold.
With money so tight these days.
Can you spare some change?