Retro Round Up - August 22, 2008
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 FINALLY get one of the games we were promised a few weeks ago. Nintendo has decided that after two weeks of delays, Capcom's 8-bit Mega Man is ready to ship. And it's about time, because I was getting sick and tired of not reviewing it each week. Hopefully this means that other promised games, such as Y's Book I & II and Samurai Shodown II, are coming soon. On top of Mega Man we get a Neo Geo golf game, a sequel to Galaga and another boring episode of American McGee's Grimm. Find out what I think of all of these games when you read this week's exciting episode of Retro Round Up!
What Is It?
Who knew that this little Mega Man game (with its terrible cover art and simplistic story) would spawn dozens of sequels and spin-offs? In fact, I can't think of another 8-bit game that spawned so many different games. Not even Nintendo is pimping out Mario as much as Capcom is milking the Mega Man franchise. With a brand new 8-bit (!) sequel in the works, Capcom is looking to reintroduce its Virtual Console users with our little robot hero. In this game you do battle with the first set of robot toughies, including Cutman, Gutsman, Elecman, Fireman, Iceman, and Bombman. Like all Mega Man games, the joy of the game is to try and figure out the correct order, since each of the six bad guys is weak to a weapon from another stage. With its cute graphics and lovable hero, Mega Man is easily one of the most memorable 2D platformers on the NES. However, it's cheap and easy to pick up the Mega Man Anniversary Collection, or better yet the Mega Man Powered Up PSP game. If you can't do that then you should give this game a shot, even if it's a little rough around the edges.
Does It Still Hold Up?
If you're a long-time Mega Man fan then you're probably going to be a little surprised at how stripped down this title is. You can't slide, there's no charge blast and you don't have a robot dog companion. In other words, this is about as primitive as Mega Man gets. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but those advancements definitely added something to the formula. If you can get over that, then you'll find that this is a great 2D shooter that holds up remarkably well.
Is It Worth The Money?
Yes the original Mega Man is fun, but fans of the series would be much better suited to just wait until Mega Man 2 is released (this September, from what I hear). Or better yet, Virtual Console gamers who also own a PSP should seek out Capcom's amazing Mega Man Powered Up, because not only do you get this full game (completely remade with 3D polygons), but you can also play through the game with the various boss characters. If you don't own a PSP and still want a good Mega Man game then this should do, but just be warned that there are much better Mega Man games on the horizon.
Neo Turf Masters
What Is It?
Are you shocked that the Neo Geo, the home of arcade fighting games, has a golf game? Well you shouldn't be, because we've already talked about SNK's baseball and soccer titles. Neo Turf Masters is a bare bones arcade golf game, the kind of sports game that is meant to be played for a few minutes at a time at an arcade or local bar. Unfortunately that means that the selection of course and variety of characters are extremely limited. As a result this is one game that feels incredibly dated, to the point where it isn't as much fun to play as it could be. Oddly enough we haven't seen a lot of golf games hit the Virtual Console, so retro gamers wanting their links fix don't have a lot to choose from. Neo Turf Masters does offer solid graphics and the gameplay is sound (even if it is derivative of most golf games of that era), but at nine dollars it's hard to warrant the purchase. It's a shame that this isn't the far superior Neo Geo Pocket Color port, a game that was developed with the intention of being played at home (or on the go). As it is, Neo Turf Masters shouldn't be your first choice when it comes to golfing on your Wii.
Does It Still Hold Up?
Chances are Neo Turf Masters will be the best looking golf game for the Virtual Console, but that doesn't mean that it's the one you should pick up. The gameplay is as you would expect, featuring the tried and true three-tap style of golfing. While that isn't a problem, the complete lack of variety of courses and characters surely will. It's no Tiger Woods PGA Tour, but Neo Turf Masters holds up as well as any 15 year old golf game can.
Is It Worth The Money?
Nine dollars seems a bit steep for what you get here, especially when there are better golf games on the Virtual Console for a fraction of the cost. If you're looking for the most "realistic" looking golf game then this is probably going to do the trick, but it's hard to ignore the game's lack of variety. The Neo Geo has never been known for their top-notch sports simulators, so what I'm saying shouldn't come as a surprise. Still, this is the closest to "good" the Neo Geo ever got to a sports game (unless you consider the amazing Wind Jammers, a Frisbee game, to be a sports title). Neo Turf Masters is a solid game, but you would be better off buying one of the other Virtual Console golf games.
This Week in Xbox Live Arcade
There's no denying that this week's Xbox Live Arcade game, Galaga Legions, is a fun 2D shooter, and nobody is going to argue that it is a retro game at its core. So why am I not giving it a full Retro Round Up review? Because Galaga Legions isn't technically an old school title, instead it's a full on sequel to one of the most influential shooters of all time. Is that nothing more than semantics? Maybe, but that's how I've decided to play it this week. Expect a full review of this Galaga sequel sometime in the upcoming days, but while you wait you should know that I fully endorse this 2D shooter, even if it's not quite as imaginative as Space Invaders Extreme
or fun as Pac-Man: Championship Edition.
While this week's entry is a lot of fun, it's really just one of the many amazing games released this month on the Xbox Live Arcade. Between Braid
, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2
, Bionic Commando: Rearmed
, and next week's Castle Crashers, this may just be the best line-up of downloadable games I've ever seen. These aren't just great games, at least one or two of those are going to be serious contenders for the Game of the Year in a few months. So save the money you were going to spend on Too Human (it's terrible, you don't want it) and buy a bunch of Microsoft Points and pick up each and every one of these games. Seriously, you won't be disappointed.
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!
I'll be honest with you; I'm seriously starting to wonder if I should even be covering GameTap anymore. I mean no offense to the great people that work hard to put stuff on this online service, but this is the fourth week in a row where I'm basically talking about American McGee's Grimm and nothing else. If you've paid any attention to my comments the last few weeks, then you already know that I don't care much for this series. I've tried really hard to get into it, but there's something about it that just repels me. I suspect that this next episode, Puss in Boots, is going to be no exception. But maybe I'm wrong, you can find out for yourself ... for free. That's right, for the first 24 hours American McGee's Puss in Boots is going to be 100% free. So go and check it out now! Or don't. Really, the choice is yours.
There is one other game added for those paying members. It's a 2003 PC game called Patrician III, and it's a historic real-time strategy game. It has colorful graphics and a few interesting ideas, but it's hardly the most exciting game of the week. I suspect that there are going to be a lot of gamers that completely ignore GameTap this week, simply because American McGee's Grimm isn't very good and Patrician III isn't very exciting. It makes me yearn for a time when GameTap was uploading dozens of old school Neo Geo and Commodore 64 games. Hey GameTap, what do I have to do to get you to upload something old and for a console? I'm telling you right now, I'll do it, just say the price!