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
. Good news gang, this week we have more than one game to talk about. Unfortunately neither of the games are actually worth talking about. Oh well, that goes with the territory. This week we take a look at Forgotten Worlds and Space Invaders: The Original Game, which, ironically, is NOT the original game. We also check in with GameTap and see what they have going on. All this can be yours when you scroll down and read another ho-hum episode of the Retro Round-Up!
What Is It?
While most 2D shooters were content giving you only one or two different directions to shoot, Forgotten Worlds introduced us to a character that could shoot in all 360 degrees. No it wasn't a pioneer of the dual stick shooters, but rather gave you a control you could literally twist in a circle to get the right shot. This creative gameplay mechanic took the arcade scene by storm and was later seen in other 2D shooters (including Midnight Resistance). Unfortunately some of the innovation is lost in this Genesis port. Sure you can shoot in all directions, but in order to do that you have to use the buttons to rotate it either clockwise or counter-clockwise. In theory this should work, but your gun rotates far too slowly and this control set-up never feels as natural as the arcade game. Still, the graphics are good and this port does retain almost all every other element from this arcade hit. Then again, if it can't recreate the arcade controls, then who cares if it looks good?
Does It Still Hold Up?
I would say that the original arcade unit holds up remarkably well. I'm serious, track it down and see for yourself. But the console ports of this game just don't work. Let's not forget, this Genesis release isn't the only port out there, you can also find a mediocre version of the game on both the PSP and PlayStation 2. Sadly those ports feature the same problems associated with this Genesis game. This is just one of those games you can't recreate at home without having the right control.
Is It Worth The Money?
Even though the gameplay is a little off, Forgotten Worlds isn't a terrible port of this long-forgotten arcade game. After I mastered the clumsy controls I ended up having a blast playing through this game, which makes me think that deep down this game is worth spending some time (and maybe even money) on. But, and this is a huge but, the game isn't worth $8. This is another one of those games that would benefit from a slightly reduced price ($4 is fair). Either way, you're probably better off just waiting for the rumored Forgotten Worlds sequel that Capcom is supposedly prepping for 2009.
Space Invaders: The Original Game
What Is It?
Now wait a second, eight dollars for a Space Invaders compilation? I know that Nintendo has gone crazy with all the money they are making from the Wii sales, but eight dollars for a bunch of Space Invaders games in highway robbery. Then again, I'm already on record having said that I never really liked Space Invaders in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate what it did for the industry and I know why people love it, but these days it's hard to go back and play this insanely slow and plodding 2D shooter and not get bored off your butt. I'm serious, just try to play this for 15 minutes without yawning or opting for something more exciting. This Space Invaders compilation features four slightly different ports of the old arcade game. One of the games is based on the original cabinet, while the three others are based on varying versions of the coffee table cabinet. No matter how you play the game you're still going to be playing a slow-paced shooter that has been featured on dozens of better Taito compilations. Worse yet, these ports aren't even 100% accurate. I know this is a Super NES game, but considering this game came out well over a decade after the original arcade release, there's just no excuse for this game's shoddy ports. Then again, even if they were the best ports ever you would still be paying eight dollars for Space Invaders.
Does It Still Hold Up?
Honestly, I don't think Space Invaders holds up at all. I know I'm going to get a ton of hate mail for saying that, but Taito's classic hasn't withstood the test of time. The controls are fine and I'm okay with the outdated graphics, but there's nothing fun about shooting these tiny spaceships and dodging their bullets. For one thing, their bullets are far too slow, so the only way you'll die is if you decide to run into it. The game can get challenging, but by that time you will have already shut off the game and moved on to Call of Duty, Wii Music or whatever is big on the Wii right now.
Is It Worth The Money?
Look, there's only one Space Invaders game to get, and that's Space Invaders Extreme (released on the PSP and Nintendo DS). Sure it's twice the price of this compilation, but it's also infinitely more playable and fun. I don't care if you put a million versions of Space Invaders into this compilation, this cartridge would never be worth eight dollars!This 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 more than 100 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. Won't you join us as we take a look at what's going on this week over at GameTap!
Hello ... is anybody still left reading this? Nobody? Okay, now that it looks like I'm all by myself, I can pretty much say whatever I want. Every week I use this time to make fun of American McGee's Grimm. I tell you how it has a lot of potential, but never lives up to its promise. I complain about how much I am talking about this terrible game. But I'm not going to do that today. Nope, I've already done enough complaining about American McGee's Grimm (See: Don't F-ing Buy That Game: A Non-Gamers Guide to Getting the Wrong Gift
). So this week I will give the GameTap PR a break and just tell you that you can play the newest episode of Grimm, Cinderella, for 24 hours for free. I can't say I wholeheartedly recommend doing that, but you can do it for free RIGHT NOW. So, why not try it out?
Now that we have that out of the week, I can tell you about the two other Gold level games you paying subscribers can check out starting today. Up first is Lionheart, which sounds really exciting. I would like to believe that it's the 1993 Amiga game, but deep down I know it's actually the 2003 game, Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader. If an outdated RPG isn't your thing, then maybe you should try Elements of Destruction, which sound even more exciting. I played this game for the Xbox 360 and wasn't very impressed, but maybe this PC game is better. Okay, it's probably not, but at least you aren't playing American McGee's Grimm, right? Damn, I was going to give that game a pass this week. Maybe next week.