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 have a couple of import-only PC Engine games for the Virtual Console, including Digital Champ Battle Boxing and Gradius II Gofer No Yabou. And did I mention that you can play Fallout for free over at GameTap? It's a packed week full of old school goodness. So sit back and relax, because you're in for another exciting episode of the Retro Round-Up!
Digital Champ Battle Boxing
What Is It?
When I first loaded up Digital Champ Battle Boxing I was excited. Not only did this PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16) game come straight from Japan, but it also features one of the greatest run-on names of all time. Digital Champ Battle Boxing, I love that name. It feels like the kind of name you can just add random words to and it would still sound awesome. Let's try it: Digital Champ Battle Boxing Street Fighter Ring Punch Hyper Analog Duck. Wow, that was fun. Anyway, back to my story. I turned this game on expecting to hate it. And guess what? Well, I hated it ... but not as much as I thought I was going to. Instead of taking the Punch-Out!!! route, Digital Champ Battle Boxing opts for a couple of spooky floating boxing gloves (just in time for Halloween). You can dodge back and forth, but for the most part you mash the buttons trying to hit your opponent high and low. Unfortunately none of the boxers are very interesting. They are all realistic looking guys that all sort of look the same. And did I mention that the fights last forever? Well, they do. Especially towards the end of the game. It seems like the computer opponents last entirely too long, making you fight them for well over ten minutes. All this would be fine if the game was fun, but it's not and you shouldn't download it.
Does It Hold Up?
We should be able to sum this up in one word: NO! It's not just the poor graphics, it's also the jerky animation, the lack of moves, the fact that there's no depth to the game, the lack of multiplayer, the poor controls and the atrocious music. This game is absolute garbage, the type of thing you should actively avoid. It sort of makes you wonder why Nintendo decided to upload this to the Virtual Console.
Is It Worth The Money?
It's hard to recommend a game with such a redundant name. Digital Champ Battle Boxing? Aren't all video games digital? And do they really need to put both "battle" and "boxing" next to each other? Last time I checked boxing was a battle by design. Even if you can get passed the terrible name, there's really nothing here worth recommending. The game fails in every way imaginable. This is the kind of game that should have stayed in Japan. Thanks a lot Nintendo!
Gradius II Gofer No Yabou
What Is It?
Don't be confused by the name, Gradius II Gofer No Yabou is a slightly enhanced version of the arcade game released on the PC Engine's Super CD (TurboGrafx-CD). The core gameplay is the same, this is one of those 2D sidescrolling shoot-em-ups where you collect objects, upgrade your craft and shoot everything that gets in the way. But I'm sure you already know that, because there are already Gradius games on the Virtual Console. And, well, it's Gradius; even people who have never played a shoot-em-up know what Gradius is. This specific port features one additional level, which just so happens to resemble the first level from Gradius III. Those who already own Gradius III may not be as interested in this Japan-only release, Gradius II is still a solid shooter that is worth your money. It's also nice to see another import shooter hit these shores.
Does It Hold Up?
The gameplay is pure Gradius, it's fast and exciting. Fans of 2D shooters will no doubt recognize a number of cliches ... most of which were created by the Gradius series. The controls are good and the graphics, while unchanged, still look reasonably solid. Gradius II does indeed hold up.
Is It Worth The Money?
While I love the idea of getting import-only shooters, Gradius II Gofer No Yabou has a couple of things working against it. For one thing it's easy to find the amazing Gradius Collection for the PSP, featuring this and other amazing Gradius games. Also, Gradius III is already on the Virtual Console, and that really is the best of the old school Gradius games. If you can get passed that and still love import shooters, then you ought to check out Gradius II. However, if you're new to the franchise you really should start with Gradius III for a buck less.
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!
Alright, I've had a full week to get over the announcement that American McGee's Grimm is coming back (and thus we're going to have to talk about it for another few weeks). I've gotten used to talking about new-ish games and old school PC games that very few people would consider old school. For example, I could spend the whole episode talking about how Fallout is STILL free to play on the GameTap service. Actually, I should do that, because it's all downhill from here.
This week brings us a couple of interesting free games and a few new-ish games for you paid subscribers. Up first we have Overlord and Penumbra Overture. I haven't played Penumbra Overture, but Overlord is a fun imitation of Nintendo's Pikmin. Well worth checking out, especially for free.
For the paying subscribers GameTap is offering you an interesting mix of genres. Up first we have Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance, let's hope your computer can run this one. Next there's Die By the Sword, Treyarch's 1998 action game. And finally there's World Poker Championship 2. That, unfortunately, is nowhere near as exciting as Die By the Sword. Next week we're back to talking about Grimm, hopefully it won't be another two months before we get back to talking about retro releases on GameTap!