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 lot of games to talk about, so let's not waste any precious time. Up first we have the first (and arguably best) Alex Kidd game, followed closely by Burning Fight for the Neo Geo. And then we hit the jackpot as GameTap gives us 14 (yes, 14) games to talk about. What are our favorites? Find out now when you read the final June episode of Retro Round-Up ...
Alex Kidd in Miracle World
What Is It?
Years before Sega had Sonic the Hedgehog; they had two mascot characters that did their best to hold their own against the mighty Mario and Luigi. I'm of course talking about Alex Kidd and Wonder Boy. While Wonder Boy has appeared in numerous forms on the Virtual Console, so far Alex Kidd has been completely forgotten. That is, until this week. While this isn't the first time Alex Kidd found his way onto the Virtual Console (see: <a href="http://www.defunctgames.com/shows.php?id=twidg-5" target="blank_"><b>This Week in Defunct Games from April 12, 2007</b></a>), this is the first time we have a reasonably good Alex Kidd game to talk about. To compare Alex Kidd to Mario or Sonic is silly, because this 2D franchise is more than just jumping on your enemies. Alex's gimmick is that he has a really, really large fist, which is, of course, great for punching his enemies. He also finds himself in incredibly bizarre worlds that have him going from land to water to sky seamlessly. This adventure in Miracle World is Alex Kidd's first outing, and as a first-generation Sega Master System game it's quite an accomplishment. The graphics, while not spectacular by today's standards, have a unique style and the action is fast and easy to control. It's great to see Nintendo finally upload one of the good Alex Kidd games, hopefully this is just the beginning.
Does It Still Hold Up?
The graphics are sharp and the controls are good, but the one thing you'll notice about this game is how difficult it is. You can earn extra lives, but this is not one of those games where you have unlimited continues and can mess up as many times as you want. This is a game where you really have to work at not getting hit by enemies, which can sometimes be difficult given your character's short range attacks. If the game wasn't so difficult I would say that it holds up well, but it's that one thing that will keep a lot of players from getting the most out of Alex Kidd in Miracle World.
Is It Worth The Money?
Alex Kidd in Miracle World is not perfect, but it's a fantastic light-hearted romp. Best of all, it's a 2D platformer that hasn't been ported to a lot of consoles and compilations. Fans of Super Mario Bros. will probably get a kick out of this punchy platformer, but the extreme difficulty will likely chase a lot of players off. At five dollars I say you should give it a go, even if you die a few times you'll still want to go back through it and see where the Miracle World takes you.
What Is It?
Burning Fight is basically SNK's answer to Double Dragon. You pick from three different guys and then walk around the city streets beating up punks and making your home safe to live. Everything that you know and love about Final Fight is here, from the incredibly cheap bosses to the trash cans with food to the lame weapons to the barrels you will have to jump over from time to time. The reason it's all here is because this is a blatant rip-off of one of Capcom's best arcade games. If you can get over the sameness then you will find that this is a somewhat enjoyable 2D brawler, but it's hard to divorce yourself from the idea that this is just a reskinned version of Final Fight. What's worse, as a home game Burning Fight completely fails. Not only is the game extremely short, but it also gives you unlimited continues, which ends up making this title a little too easy. Having said that, Burning Fight is no worse than some of the Neo Geo games ported to the Virtual Console. This is just another lame SNK game getting in the way of the high quality Neo Geo content that is sure to come.
Does It Still Hold Up?
In the past I've mentioned that the Double Dragon formula (seen in games like Final Fight, Captain Commando, Streets of Rage, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, etc.) feels a little outdated. There really wasn't that much technique to those old games ... and this is no exception. To make matters worse, the graphics and art style in this game are ugly beyond words and the controls are never as responsive as you want them to be. I hate to say it, but Burning Fight does not hold up.
Is It Worth The Money?
At best Burning Fight is in the second or third tier of 2D brawlers, hovering around Tuff E Nuff and Rival Turf. The nine dollar asking price is a joke; there is no more than fifty cents worth of enjoyment to be had in this game. I understand why SNK would make a Double Dragon clone, but Burning Fight is not a very good one. You should just hold out for the better Neo Geo games that are sure to be hitting the Virtual Console any day now.
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