Retro Round-up for September 27

Retro Round-up for September 27

Written by Cyril Lachel on 9/28/2007 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. This week we check in with Kirby, Streets of Rage, Hero Tonma and a whole bunch of GameTap games. Warning: Bad puns ahead! Now quit wasting your time with this stupid introduction and start reading about all of the retro games ...


Kirby's Avalanche
What Is It?
Even if you've never heard of this Nintendo puzzler, Kirby's Avalanche is a game you've probably played before. Kirby's Avalanche is actually a remake of the classic puzzle game Puyo Puyo, and chances are you've experienced that game in one form or another. In fact, you may have already purchased a version of Puyo Puyo for the Virtual Console. Almost a year ago Nintendo uploaded Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, a Sonic the Hedgehog-inspired version of Puyo Puyo. Nintendo's stab is not too dissimilar from Sega's; they've taken a popular mascot character (in this case Kirby) and created a Puyo Puyo rip-off around him. The object is exactly the same as any other version of Puyo Puyo, colored blobs fall from the sky and it's your job to match four of them up. While it's simple to connect four blobs and make them disappear, the challenge is to cause chain reactions where you are taking out multiple colors at the same time. Although it doesn't differ from the tried and true Puyo Puyo formula, Kirby's Avalanche is the most visually appealing version of the game on the Virtual Console. There's no denying that the Super NES was capable of pushing a lot of colors at the same time, and this puzzler definitely benefits from the bright colorful make-over. But at the end of the day this is just Puyo Puyo and it really won't matter which version of the game you decide to pick up.

Does It Still Hold Up?
While it doesn't get the same amount of attention as Tetris, Puyo Puyo is one of the greatest puzzle games ever made. And while it's true that there are a lot of games like this already available on the market, there's no denying the simple pleasure that is Puyo Puyo. Kirby's Avalanche is a perfectly acceptable remake of this addictive puzzle game, the controls are easy and you'll be playing this long after you've grown board with all those 16-bit action games.

Is It Worth the Money?
No video game collection is complete without a copy of Puyo Puyo, no matter if it's Kirby's Avalanche, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine or one of the countless other remakes. If you already own Sega's version of the game then you should definitely pass on this Nintendo title, but at least now you have two different options (both for the same price). It really comes down to who you like better: Sonic the Hedgehog or Kirby. The game is worth buying, no matter which version you end up getting.


Kirby

Legend of Hero Tonma
What Is It?
Not only is Legend of Hero Tonma difficult to pronounce, but it's also difficult to enjoy. On one hand it's an interesting variation on the Ghouls 'N Ghosts theme, it features a likeable character and some cool bosses to deal with. But just when you start to enjoy playing as Hero Tonma you are introduced to the insane difficulty level. The enemies tend to swarm you in unfair ways and often make it extremely difficult to get away from them. The good news is that you can jump very, very high. But at the same time it's sometimes hard to judge just where you're jumping. And what's worse, you'll often jump right into enemies you can't even see. All this would be fine if you had a life bar or something, but in Tonma it's one hit and you're dead. Eventually you'll figure out the patterns and it will all start to make sense, but then you discover that the game is painfully short. That's not to say that you won't have a good time while it lasts, but the game's lack of replay and unfair difficulty makes this difficult to recommend.

Does It Still Hold Up?
It's always good to see a fun 2D platformer, but there are a lot of problems with this game that plague a lot of products from that era. Not only is the game insanely difficult, but I'm not a fan of the way the continue system works. Thankfully the controls are good, but you still have to put up with a lot of pain in order to fully enjoy this game.

Is It Worth the Money?
I'm fully aware that there are a lot of people that would get a kick out of Tonma; there are a lot of things to like about the game. But there's just something about this game that makes it hard for me to recommend. This is one of those times when it would be nice to have demos on the Virtual Console, because I know for a fact that there will be quite a few people who fall in love with the character and can overlook the imperfections. Unfortunately I can't.

Hero
Streets of Rage 3
What Is It?
The original Streets of Rage hit at just the right time. Released at almost the exact same time as Final Fight on the Super NES, this Sega brawler showed 16-bit gamers that they had a firm grasp on what was popular at the time. Best of all, Streets of Rage managed to one-up Capcom's arcade brawler by offering two-player support, more levels, and deeper gameplay. Streets of Rage 2 took that formula and added better graphics, more characters, tons of bad guys, and some truly impressive levels. After playing through Streets of Rage 2 a dozen times gamers across the world couldn't wait to get their hands on Sega's third (and ultimately final) Streets of Rage game. Unfortunately Streets of Rage 3 was the game that broke the series. Streets of Rage 3 features everything you would expect from a sequel, you get slightly enhanced graphics, different levels, new playable characters, some hidden stuff, and bigger bosses. There's just one problem, the entire game is absurd. Things fall apart right from the start; the characters you get to choose from include an old guy with bionic parts and a kangaroo. That's right; you get to play as a street fighting kangaroo. And the disappointment doesn't end there, the levels feel like nothing more than a retread of the first two games, and the gameplay hasn't changed at all since part two. But the problem I have is that I can't get over the ridiculous characters, whatever happened to the cool characters from the original Streets of Rage? Look, I was never a fan of Skate (the African American teenager who fights on rollerblades), but at least he's not as lame as controlling a kangaroo.

Does It Still Hold Up?
As is always the case when we review classic brawlers, Streets of Rage 3 suffers from somewhat repetitious gameplay. So much of this game is about mashing buttons and dodging other people's attacks, and you'll be doing that from beginning to end without much of a break. What's worse, this brawler formula wouldn't be properly updated for more than a decade. I'm not sure what Sega could have done to make this game hold up any better, but then again I'm not getting paid the big bucks to make a street fighting trilogy.

Is It Worth the Money?
Streets of Rage 3 is the disappointment of the franchise; that one game that seemed to kill all of the momentum. If you already own Streets of Rage 1 and 2 then you probably don't need to pick this game up, but if you're one of those people that needs to own the complete set then you will probably find some enjoyment out of this disappointing sequel. After weeks of nothing but Super Thunder Blade and Donkey Kong Jr. Math, this game is a refreshing change of pace. But it's not the kick-ass sequel that it should have been. And that's the triple truth, Ruth.

Streets of Rage 3


This Week in GameTap
1942:
Last week we talked about Vulgus, Capcom's vertical shoot-em-up. Despite being derivative of just about every other 2D shooter of the era, I ended up recommending the game for those who are looking for fast arcade action. This week I suggest you forget all about Vulgus, because GameTap has uploaded a far superior 2D shooter from Capcom. This is 1942, a classic vertical shooter that hits all the right notes. This exciting shooter features great graphics, fast arcade action and plenty of enemies to shoot out of the sky. While Capcom has newer 2D shooters, 1942 was a high water mark that the company has yet to reach again.

Alpha Mission:
If 1942 isn't good enough for you, then perhaps you should check out SNK's very own vertical shoot-em-up, Alpha Mission. While there's a lot of fun to be had in this action game, it's hard to not to yearn for the better looking Neo Geo game from 1991. The problem with Alpha Mission is that the game just doesn't have the style of Capcom's 1942; it's just another boring space shooter full of alien ships to blow up. That's not to say that you can't have some fun with it, but there's no reason to play this when 1942 is also available.

Bubble Bobble:
While I prefer the Puzzle Bobble series, I do have a soft spot for Bub and Bob from Bubble Bobble. Going through this 21 year old game I'm struck by how well it has held up, the controls are responsive and there's a surprising variety of levels to play through. The gameplay is a bit repetitive, but you'll hardly notice that when you're going through the levels with a friend. Bubble Bobble is now the kind of game we see much of anymore, and that's just one of the excellent reasons to play through the game again.

Liquid Kids:
Liquid Kids is, well, kind of weird. But then again, Taito has always been on the quirky side (just look at The New Zealand Story). Liquid Kids doesn't actually feature any "kids", instead you play Hipopo the Hippo who is on a quest to find his missing girlfriend. Chances are this is one arcade game you've never actually played before, and at the end of the day that should be a good enough reason to give this game a spin. Thankfully this isn't just another throw away title, Liquid Kids proves to be a lot of fun thanks to the endearing main character and some cute levels. This rare arcade game is definitely my top pick of the week.

Super Sidekicks:
Proving that I can't get away from classic sports games, Super Sidekicks is an old school soccer game from 1992. I'm not a huge soccer fan so perhaps I'm the wrong person to review this, but even a hater like me had an enjoyable time kicking the ball around and trying to avoid the dreaded 0 - 0 tie. Is it the best sports game I've ever played? Of course not, but fans of the sport will no doubt get a kick out of playing this with friends for free. Hmm ... I really hate to go out on a pun, but I guess that's the way the ball bounces.

* 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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