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
There was no update last week due to some technical problems. That means that this week's edition is a very special double episode, where we offer up two of just about everything. We get two completely different Virtual Console games, four different Xbox Live Arcade games and a pair of DSiWare and WiiWare titles. We have quite the show lined up for you, so get comfortable and tune into the Retro Round-Up!
Galaxy Force II
What Is It?
It's just a couple of days after J.J. Abrams' Star Trek rocketed to number one at the box office, breaking records along the way. So what is Nintendo going to do about it? Perhaps give us a Star Trek game? Nah, instead they give us something better - Galaxy Force II. Galaxy Force II is based on the gigantic arcade unit, the same one that simulated real space combat by, well, shaking you around in a big metal egg. Sadly this Virtual Console version doesn't come with a giant egg (I wonder how many Nintendo Points it would cost to get the giant metal egg?). Galaxy Force II is best described as Space Harrier in space ... which is basically what Space Harrier was already. Your job is to shoot at anything that gets in your way and then when you're done with that, you do it some more. The game's levels, bosses and atmosphere are all straight out of Space Harrier, so gamers who have already invested in that mediocre Sega shooter should probably avoid this. On second thought, maybe I would have preferred a Star Trek game.
Does It Still Hold Up?
Absolutely not. Galaxy Force II is tremendously outdated. Since the Genesis hardware didn't support advanced scaling and rotation, the game's animation is rarely smooth. The environments are generally made up of nothing more than two horizontal lines of opposing colors and the enemies repeat far too often. The music is awful and the controls are unresponsive. In a lot of ways the game is like Space Harrier, only not as interesting or original.
Is It Worth the Money?
I know there hasn't been a lot of good Virtual Console games to buy lately, but you definitely need to keep your shields up for this waste of time. With Space Harrier already on the Virtual Console, you're better off just ignoring both and saving your money for something really good. It's only a matter of time before Nintendo starts offering up something good, right? Anybody?
(Virtual Console/Commodore 64/$5)
What Is It?
Tower Toppler is a game where you play as a frog-like creature trying to work his way up an enormous, wait for it, tower. The concept may be simple, but the game is surprisingly engaging. The idea is that you will have to find the right paths, go through the right doors and hit the right elevators to avoid enemies and complete your task. This ends up working well on the Commodore 64, even with the lack of buttons. You aren't going to find anything here that will revolutionize the way you see video gaming, but this is the first must-own Commodore 64 game on the Virtual Console.
Does It Still Hold Up?
The graphics aren't good, but when you talk about the Commodore 64, that comes with the territory. The C64's other technical problems are at play here, including slightly sluggish controls. Ultimately the game can overcome these problems, but be aware of the limitations before you start toppling towers.
Is It Worth the Money?
For months I have been waiting to recommend a Commodore 64 game, and finally I have found that game. Tower Toppler may not look fresh or have deep gameplay, but the mazes are fun and the game can be a real brain buster as you go along. Sure it's a slow moving platformer, but it's unlike anything out on the Virtual Console. And while I usually balk at the price tag for C64 games, I say that five dollars isn't too much for Tower Toppler.
WiiWare Limerick Theater
Every week Nintendo announces their new Virtual Console offerings. But what you may not know is that they also announce the newest games for the Wii's specialized WiiWare channel. This is the place where you can download cheap smaller games, the type of titles you would only pay a few dollars for. Thus far we haven't spent much time covering these hidden gems, but today that's going to end. Starting today we're going to cover the WiiWare line-up just as we would any other section. To keep things consistent, we have decided to post all WiiiWare reviews in the form of a limerick. This week we're looking at something called Penguins & Friends - Hey! That's My Fish ... no, I'm not kidding.
Penguins & Friends - Hey! That's My Fish
There once was a penguin named Trish and she really was a dish, but as weird as it got and as much as we fought, I just couldn't take all of her fish.
The Great DSiWare Haiku
Not content with the Virtual Console and WiiWare, Nintendo has decided to offer up a THIRD avenue for downloading games. That's right, it's the DSiWare, and it's the best (and only) way to download games to your brand new Nintendo DSi. Each week we take a look at Nintendo's uploads through the form of poetry. Haiku, to be exact. Will these reviews help your purchase of DSiWare games? Nah, but they're a lot of fun to read. See for yourself when you read my haikus for Real Soccer!
It's like being there.
The real artificial.
I prefer fake sports.
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