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
. Talk about a slow week. This week Nintendo uploaded one game to the Virtual Console, an obscure 2D shooter called Super Turrican. And to make matters worse, neither Sony nor Microsoft uploaded any classic games, which left us looking to GameTap for our old school fix. Thankfully GameTap delivered, offering two free games and a Genesis title that is subscriber-only. Find out where we came down on these games when you read this week's Retro Round-Up!
What Is It?
Super Turrican is the Super NES version/sequel to the popular Commodore 64 title. At its core Super Turrican is nothing more than a cross between Contra and Metroid, a fast-paced arcade-style shooter that had you exploring, collecting new items and taking down giant bosses. Of course, the real reason people care about this game now is because it's developed by Factor 5, the developers behind last year's disastrous Lair, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron and Ballblazer Champions. The good news is that Super Turrican is a lot better than Lair, which isn't saying a whole lot. While it's not very original (this game steals from almost all of the pre-1990 action games, including Mega Man, Contra, Metroid and many more), there's something endearing about Super Turrican. Perhaps it's the fact that there aren't a lot of games like this on the Virtual Console or maybe it's the fact that this game has held up incredibly well, but I had more fun playing Super Turrican than I did playing just about any other shooter in recent months. Super Turrican may not have a name like Contra or Metroid, but this shooter is every bit as fun as those two classic franchises.
Does It Still Hold Up?
The action is fast-paced, the power-ups are fun to play with, the game controls well, the bosses are cool, the explosions are large ... what more could you want from a 2D shooter? Sure, the graphics look a little dated and the story isn't quite there, but it's hard to look past the exciting action and cool level designs. Super Turrican definitely holds up.
Is It Worth The Money
For whatever reason Super Turrican is the only Virtual Console game uploaded this week, which doesn't give you much of a choice. Regardless, Super Turrican should be more than enough for action fans; it's a fantastic shooter that most gamers probably ignored the first time around. The good news is that this suggests that we'll also see the Mega Turrican games and maybe even Super Turrican 2, the superior Super NES sequel. Either way, Super Turrican is worth picking up ... even if the name doesn't grab you.
This Week in GameTap
Every week I plan on taking a look at the classic games being uploaded on the GameTap
service. Regardless of whether it's part of their free or premium service, GameTap
offers a wide variety of old school games that is worth checking out. Here are the most recent games uploaded to their server, keep in mind that all of these games are free to play unless otherwise stated:
(Genesis/Subscription Required) - The original Genesis Batman was a two-dimensional masterpiece, a fantastic game full of great gameplay and solid graphics. So needless to say, Batman fans were more than a little excited about Sega's follow-up, Batman Returns. Unfortunately this pseudo-sequel can't quite live up to the SunSoft Batman game. This is a clunky 2D action game with sluggish controls and a serious lack of diversity. There was a Sega CD version of this game that added what were considered amazing race sequences at that time. This isn't the worst game on the GameTap service, but you can get all you need out of it from simply playing the first level.
(Neo Geo) - Seeing the success Electronic Arts was having in the football department, SNK saw the potential and created Football Frenzy, an arcade-style sports game with cartoony characters and an over-the-top feel. Unfortunately Football Frenzy isn't nearly as much fun now as it was years ago, the time hasn't aged this title well. The controls are sluggish and you'll get sick of the simplistic graphics within seconds of starting this game. If I were you I would stick with one of the recent arcade-style football games, you would be much better off.
(Arcade) - The great thing about GameTap is that gamers around the world are able to discover obscure arcade games at no charge. SonSon is one of those forgotten arcade games, a brilliant 2D platformer from Capcom. The theme of the game is actually very simple, but the gameplay is quick and addictive, ultimately making this the best "new" game uploaded to GameTap this week.