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
This week we celebrate Nintendo's 300th Virtual Console release. We're definitely on our way to one Virtual Console game for every day of the week. Unfortunately, at one game a week, it's going to take more than a year to actually hit that magic number. But who cares, because we have a big release to review. Right? This thing is huge, right? Nope, it's just the long-awaited release of Majora's Mask, the black sheep in the Zelda franchise. Find out if the rest of this week's releases are as disappointing when you tune into this week's exciting episode of the Retro Round-Up!
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
(Virtual Console/Nintendo 64/$10)
What Is It?
You know how people always complain about how the Legend of Zelda series seems recycle many of the same cliches from one game to the next? You know the trappings - going from one dungeon to the next, collecting new items that open up new areas of the world, damsel in distress, etc. Well, Majora's Mask is the antithesis of that. Instead of just mimicking the success of Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask decides to throw everything we thought we knew about the Zelda franchise right out the window. Like a video game equivalent of Grownhog's Day (the movie, not the actual day), the whole premise revolves around a three-day cycle. You still have dungeons to explore, music to play and bosses to best, but this time around you have to deal with time limits and a strange evolving world. To the annoyance of almost everybody, the game seemed too ready to focus on side-quests and mini-games, none of which were as fun as the standard adventuring. When the game was released it was considered a disappointment, especially when compared to Ocarina of Time (which many still consider to be the best game of all time). Majora's Mask went out of its way to shake up the usual Zelda trappings, but neither fans nor critics seemed to appreciate it. Since then Nintendo has given us only tried and true Zelda adventures.
Does It Still Hold Up?
If you played through Ocarina of Time, then you'll feel right at home with this second Nintendo 64 release. The graphics and sound are basically the same, only with a few added effects and "Expansion Pak" support. The controls are good, but do you expect anything less from a Zelda outing? The whole package is real solid, which should be reason enough to pick up Nintendo's 300th Virtual Console game.
Is It Worth the Money?
I used to say that even the worst Zelda game was better than most other company's games, but then I picked up the three CDi installments and changed my tune. The good news is that even though I say the game is a disappointment, that doesn't mean you shouldn't go through it. This is perhaps the most fun game I've ever had being disappointing. Just don't go in expecting a typical Zelda adventure. However, if you're one of those people who has never gone through Majora's Mask, then I say you should definitely spend the $10 on this Virtual Console version.
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 Silver Star Chess, I have a hunch that it's a chess game!
Silver Star Chess
There once was a game called Silver Star Chess and it's fun ... I guess. It's basically the same as every other chess game, but at least the tutorials take away a lot of the stress.
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