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 hold our nose and review the arcade version of Altered Beast and then check out a brand new version of Arkanoid. If that's not enough for you, then maybe you should enroll in the Art Academy: Second Semester and race through Drift Mania. All that can be yours when you read this week's episode of the Retro Round-Up!
What Is It?
When it comes to releasing Altered Beast, Nintendo had a lot of options. They could offer the first-generation Genesis game, the 8-bit Sega Master System port, the Commodore 64 game, a TurboGrafx-16 version and even an unlicensed NES port. They chose the most expensive version possible, the original arcade game. In case you haven't suffered through this painfully dull 2D brawler, you play a practically naked man who, through the course of a level, turns into an Arnold Schwarzenegger-style muscle-man. And then, just when you think you're ripped enough, you turn into ... an animal? It's true, in each level you turn into a different animal, from a dragon to a bear to a tiger to a werewolf. The game plays out with you punching zombies and kicking dogs. And did I mention that the game (which can easily be beaten in less than an hour) forces you to walk at its own pace? Throw in sluggish controls and lazy programming and you have one of the worst arcade games ever made.
Does It Still Hold Up?
Altered Beast couldn't be any more outdated if it tried. For one thing the game forces you to walk, something you don't see very often in modern games. The gameplay has no depth to it; you basically just punch and kick the same creatures over and over again. The animals you turn into are lame, and towards the end it's clear that the developers ran out of ideas. The whole game is a mess.
Is It Worth The Money?
I hate Altered Beast. I've played the game dozens of times (it even came with the first Genesis console I ever bought), yet I can't think of even one good thing to say about it. This arcade port is probably the best it will ever look and play, but that's not saying a whole lot. Ignore this $10 download and seek out Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection instead. Not only is it dirt cheap, but when you're sick of Altered Beast (about a minute after you boot it up) you can move over to far better retro games.
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 take a trip back to Arkanoid Plus and race through Drift Mania!
I used to love an arcade game called Arkanoid, but these days I don't see what I enjoyed. It used to be fun but these days I'm done, now this game is something I try and avoid.
I love playing racing games with a lot of drift, especially when I'm forced to manually shift. It gives me a rush that I don't want to hush, and every time I survive I treat it like a gift.
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 this reviews help your purchase of DSiWare games? Nah, but they're a lot of fun to read. This week we enroll in the Art Academy: Second Semester and gear up for Dragon Quest Wars.
Art Academy: Second Semester
Back for a second.
This is where you buckle down.
At least that's the goal.
Dragon Quest Wars
Dragons are nasty.
They'll rip my flesh to pieces.
I'm too sick to fight!