Retro Round-up for September 12

Retro Round-up for September 12

Written by Cyril Lachel on 9/12/2008 for PS3   Wii   360  

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. I hope you're not tired of 2D shooters, because this week we have both overhead and side-scrolling shooters. Up first we have Cho Aniki for the TurboDuo. If that's not enough, we also have Final Soldier, which is also for the TurboDuo. If you're not into 2D shooters, then maybe Samurai Shodown II is more your style. And when we're done with that we end with our look at what's new with GameTap. All this can be yours when you read this exciting episode of the Retro Round-Up!

Cho Aniki
What Is It?
We can't go too far into this review without first acknowledging Cho Aniki's place in modern gaming culture. While most western gamers have never heard of this side-scrolling 2D shooter, Cho Aniki has quite a name attached to it. While most games feature hot women with enormous breasts, Cho Aniki went a different direction. More of a rainbow-colored direction, if you catch my drift. The game's near-naked musclemen stars and wacky sense of humor made it stand out, but it was its flamboyant gay content that made it famous. Well, don't expect too much of that stuff in this first game, a 1992 shooter from Masaya. The game features two playable characters, small graphics and very little of the franchise's patented humor. That's not to say that the game isn't wacky, because it certainly is, but gamers expecting this to look like San Francisco's Castro district will be disappointed.

Does It Still Hold Up?
What sets this series apart is its over the top humor (if you want to call it that), but when you strip that away (no pun intended) you're left with a fairly generic shooter. Thankfully the gameplay is solid and the levels are unique enough to keep you going.

Is It Worth the Money?

In a lot of ways this is a very average 2D shooter, but I'm going to recommend it for one very specific reason: Because if enough people buy this maybe we'll see some of the over the top sequels. I'm a big fan of supporting the import games, if only because it’s the first time most people will play these games. This is a perfect example of that theory. There are probably a lot of hardcore gamers who have heard of this series in passing but never played the game. Now they can. Sadly it doesn't hold up to the hype, but that shouldn't keep you from having a good time with this rare shooter.

Choaniki

Final Soldier
What Is It?
Sick and tired of 2D shooters on the Virtual Console? Lately it seems like the only choice we get is whether we want our shoot-em-up to be overhead or side-scrolling. But don't write Final Soldier off too quickly. It comes from a good family; it's the third game in the popular Star Solider series. Like the rest of the games in the series, Final Solider is your standard overhead shooter full of big power-ups and cool bosses. The only thing that sets this series apart from most of the other shooters on the platform is the difficulty level, which is significantly easier than games like R-Type and Gradius. That means that this is the shooter for the rest of us, the people who refuse to memorize patterns and get involved with bullet hell. But there's a problem, for some strange reason Nintendo has been uploading these out of order. You've been able to download Soldier Blade for months, and it's only been a couple of weeks since Nintendo gave us the charming Star Parodier. If you're the kind of person who doesn't going back a few years, then you may get a kick out of Final Soldier, but everybody else should just get one of the other recent sequels.

Does It Still Hold Up?
The gameplay is perfectly fine, which shouldn't surprise anybody considering that this is the third game in the franchise. Final Soldier's graphics and sound aren't always spectacular, and sometimes they come off as generic. Thankfully the game's speed and diverse levels will keep you going, even though you've seen this all before.

Is It Worth the Money?

At this point there are way too many other shooters on the Virtual Console to recommend this. Then again, if you've played through all of the other Star Soldier games and you're still not sick of overhead shooting, then you should definitely download this seven dollar shoot-em-up. And just as an aside, I'm really hoping that next week we don't get any more 2D shooters. I love this genre and all, but lately I've had to play a lot of these types of games and I'm ready for something different. Maybe something called Wind Jammers.

Final Soldier
Samurai Shodown II
What Is It?
It's SNK's greatest fighting game, that's what. Okay, I know there are a lot of people that would argue that Last Blade 2 is superior, but as far as I'm concerned you can't do better than Haohmaru, Hattori Hanzo, Shiki and Yuga the Destroyer. Coming right on the heels of the Virtual Console port, SNK has uploaded one of the greatest 2D fighting games to the Xbox Live Arcade. Hopefully you weren't expecting some big fancy Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix-style upgrade to Samurai Shodown II, because this Xbox Live Arcade game is basically a direct port of the Neo Geo arcade game. Thankfully SNK Playmore has added a few extras to keep this interesting, including a horrible "enhanced" graphic mode (which it defaults to), leader boards, achievements and online play. That's right, this version of Samurai Shodown II finally has online play, thus answering one of my oldest dreams. The online play is a little rough, but it's just nice to have the option of playing my friends one-on-one over the internet.

Does It Still Hold Up?

The gameplay is a little sluggish compared to some of the newer fighting games, but that was true even back when this game was originally released. The joy of this game isn't the pinpoint accuracy of the moves, but rather how you can plan attacks and chop people up with your sword. The graphics hold up surprisingly well, and they look even better when you turn that "enhanced" stuff off.

Is It Worth the Money?
This Xbox Live Arcade release is $10, which is exactly one dollar more expensive than the Virtual Console version. It really comes down to you paying an extra dollar for online play, which is something I've been dreaming of for years. For me this Xbox Live Arcade version is the obvious choice, especially since it's only one dollar more expensive. Either way, you're going to get one of the greatest fighting games of all time, finally available for less than $100.

Samuri Showdown

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!

So here we are again, another week of American McGee's Grimm. This week we get The Devil and His Three Golden Hairs, which certainly sounds exciting. If you've been paying attention you already know that I'm not a fan of this series, but if you want to check it out you can play it for free for the first 24 hours. If you like what you see you can buy each episode for $3.99. After today we're down to one final episode, Beauty and the Beast. I have a hunch that there's going to be a lot less singing and dancing in this version.

On top of American McGee's Grimm, GameTap has uploaded the mediocre two-player action game, Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. I wasn't a huge fan of the game when I first played it (see: my full review, but I can definitely see what the developers were trying to do with this game. I have since gone back through the game with a friend and had a much better time. But the game's controls are still broken, and there's just something about these two characters that I hate. Maybe it's all their fighting. They really fight way too much. At the end of the day I say that Kane & Lynch would make a much better movie than a game.

Gametap

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.


About Author

It's questionable how accurate this is, but this is all that's known about Cyril Lachel: A struggling writer by trade, Cyril has been living off a diet of bad games, and a highly suspect amount of propaganda. Highly cynical, Cyril has taken to question what companies say and do, falling ever further into a form of delusional madness. With the help of quality games, and some greener pastures on the horizon, this back-to-basics newsman has returned to provide news so early in the morning that only insomniacs are awake.
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