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 don't have a whole lot to work with. Gone are the days when we get two or three Virtual Console games, as we only received one title this week and nothing noteworthy from the Xbox Live or GameTap services. Thankfully the one game up for review this week is a good one, one of the best we've had all year. What could this mystery game be? Find out now when you read another exciting episode of the Retro Round-Up!
Mega Man 2
What Is It?
Mega Man gets a bad rap. Because Capcom has milked our little blue robot buddy with endless sequels, remakes and spin-offs, there are a lot of us who feel burned out by these 2D platformers. But that wasn't the case back in 1988. At the time this action game was considered a risk, especially after the mediocre sales of the first game. Unwilling to let the franchise die, Keiji Inafune and his team developed a game that would feature every brilliant idea they could come up with. And that is why Mega Man 2 is so much better than the first game. It's not just the robots (which include Flash Man, Quick Man, Wood Man, Air Man, Crash Man, Bubble Man, Heat Man and Metal Man), it's also the improvements in the level designs, music and regular enemies. This is a phenomenal game that everybody should own, either on the NES or this Virtual Console port. If you're looking for the Mega Man game to get you ready for Capcom's upcoming Mega Man 9, then you can do no better than this 20 year old NES gem.
Does It Still Hold Up?
The first thing you're going to notice when you pick up Mega Man 2 is that it's hard, extremely hard. The level designs and enemy placements often feel like they were done just to make you want to throw your control through the TV. But don't do it, because with a little patience and some luck, you'll fight your way to Dr. Wily and put an end to his madness ... at least, until Mega Man 3 comes to the Virtual Console.
Is It Worth The Money?
Even if you're completely burned out of Mega Man, Mega Man 2 is still worth your time. This is Mega Man at his best, with some of the greatest bosses and levels. At $5 this is the best game to come out on the Virtual Console in several months. Yes, you can still go out and buy the various Mega Man collections, but if you're looking for only one Mega Man game then this is it. Some might argue that Mega Man 3 is on par, but for my money I would stick with this week's release. You can't go wrong with Mega Man 2.
This Week in Xbox Live Arcade
Well, I guess summer is officially over. After weeks and weeks of amazing games (Braid, Bionic Commando: Rearmed, Samurai Shodown II, etc.), we've finally hit a slow patch. This week we get Feeding Frenzy 2: Shipwreck Showdown. I'm sure this isn't going to come as much of a surprise, but Feeding Frenzy 2 is almost exactly the same as the first game. No, scratch that, it's exactly the same as the first game. This isn't a bad thing, but it's also not worth picking up if you already have last year's model. Thankfully we'll have a chance to talk about Duke Nukem 3D next week, so maybe we'll see summer come back with a vengeance.
This Week in GameTap
Today is a good day! After 8 weeks, this is the final episode of American McGee's Grimm. Actually, this is the final episode of the first volume, which suggests that there's more to come. Hopefully in between those releases we'll see some classic arcade and console games, because I can't even remember the last time I talked about a retro release on This Week in GameTap. As always, this week's Grimm episode, Beauty and the Beast, will be free for the first 24 hours, so get out there and check it out. If you don't play it today then it (along with the 7 other episodes) will be $3.99 per episode.
Rounding out the GameTap updates this week is a game that is the complete opposite of American McGee's Grimm. It's called Mission: Runway, and it's a "game" that is all about designing (and showing off) your dress making skills. Okay, I'll admit, I'm a Project Runway addict. I know I shouldn’t admit that, but there's something about Tim Gunn that makes me tune in every single week. But no matter how many time I see people making high fashion gowns, I never find myself saying: "Gee, I bet I can do that." Instead I'm in amazement at what these designers can do with some fabric. Maybe that's why I'm not impressed with this game. Either way, I'm sure there are people who like this, but I'm more into the drama of watching people make these outfits. I think I'll stick with Project Runway.