Retro Round-up for December 7

Retro Round-up for December 7

Written by Cyril Lachel on 12/7/2007 for PS3   Wii   360  
More On: Retro Round-up
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 look at another three mediocre Virtual Console games and a whole handful of crazy Commodore 64 games. You won't want to miss that!

Dynasty Hero (Virtual Boy)
What Is It?
It's Wonder Boy in Monster World. No really, that's exactly what this game is. Believe it or not, Dynasty Hero is the TurboDuo version of Wonder Boy in Monster World for the Sega Genesis, a solid action game in its own right. The good news is that Dynasty Hero is the same solid action game that you got back in April. This is still a unique action game where you run around in an open world solving mysteries and role-playing. Unfortunately this version of the game is exactly the same price as the Genesis port, so at the end of the day it's a toss-up which version you buy. You're getting a good game no matter what, but I would personally go with Wonder Boy in Monster World (I just like that name better). This is a great game, but is there really a need for two different versions of the same game on the Virtual Console? I think not.

Does It Still Hold Up?

I was surprised at how relevant this game feels. Sure the controls are a little stiff and the game play is very basic, but I couldn't help but be reminded of recent Castlevania and Metroid games. While it's nowhere near that level of sophistication as those franchises, Wonder Boy in Monster World offered a compelling story and a fun action experience. I like some of the ideas Sega had for this game, but it makes me sad that Sega never found a good use for poor old Wonder Boy after the 16-bit era.

Is It Worth the Money?

Hopefully you bought the game eight months ago when I suggested it, but if not then you might want to give this one a look. The fact that Nintendo just uploaded a duplicate game kind of annoys me, I hope they don't continue to do that when there are so many better games they could emulate on the Wii.

Dynasty Hero

Eternal Champions (Virtual Console)
What Is It?
While never as good as Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat, Eternal Champions had a cult following back in the mid-1990s. But looking back at it now one has to wonder why this sloppily put together fighting game had any fans at all. Eternal Champions is not without a good concept, the game centers around the idea that you are playing as a historical figure that was plucked from just moments before he was supposed to die. This plotline gives each of the game's characters (which include a caveman, witch, robotic man, acrobat, private investigator, etc.) the motive to beat the end boss and win live to see another day. Unfortunately the game's controls aren't very good. While each of the characters have a lot of unique moves, pulling off specific moves is often difficult. Thankfully the game does have a good sense of humor, but the controls are extremely difficult and it hasn't aged well.

Does It Still Hold Up?
It struck my while replaying Eternal Champions that some of this game holds up extremely well. I especially like the story; all of the characters had interesting stories that still intrigue me. I wouldn't mind seeing some sort of modern Eternal Champions sequel, preferably something with polygons. On the other hand the controls in this game are dreadful. At best you only feel mildly out of control. If you can put up with the awkward controls you'll find a fundamentally broken 2D fighter with an interesting story and great characters.

Is It Worth the Money?

Eight dollars is too much money for a Genesis fighter that most people barely remember. That's not to say that you should ignore all Eternal Champions games in the future, if Nintendo ever decides to add Sega CD games to the Virtual Console we may be able to buy the far superior CD-based sequel. Hey, don't look at me like that. Sega CD games on the Virtual Console could happen, Nintendo decided to support the TurboDuo, right?

Eternal Champions
Zanac (Virtual Console)
What Is It?
Zanac is probably the worst looking game on the Virtual Console. I'm not kidding. The game looks absolutely dreadful. It's not just the constant graphic flickering nor is it the fact that everything is so small, it's the fact that the developers (Compile) decided to use the worst colors in the world to develop their game. From the first level to the last you will get color choices that clash. It got so bad that halfway through the level I felt like the game was giving me lasic eye surgery. If you can get over the poor choice in colors you will find that this is a rock solid action game. The problem I have is that we've had a full year of non-stop 2D shooters, it's time for Nintendo to give us a few weeks to catch our breath. If you're looking for a fun shooter then you can't go wrong with Zanac, even if it sounds like the medicine you're taking to combat your liver problem.

Does It Still Hold Up?
The colors sure don't. Turning on Zanac is like walking into your grandma's house. Everywhere you look it's one bad fashion decision after another. I'm surprised the purchase of the game doesn't come with a coupon for shag carpeting. The control is solid enough, even if you've done all of this before.

Is It Worth the Money?
Five dollars isn't a bad price for a solid action game, so if you're looking for a fun game to download this week then Zanac is about the best you can do. Just keep in mind that you're going to need to cover your eyes or turn your TV to black and white mode. This is a solid purchase, but part of me really thinks Nintendo should stop overloading the Virtual Console with 2D shooters.


This Week in GameTap

Bee 52 (Commodore 64) -
Long before the Bee Movie Game there was Bee 52, a Commodore 64 action game/shooter starring a brightly colored by making honey. While I wouldn't mind playing a 2D shoot-em-up starring a bee, this game just isn't as much fun as Gradius, R-Type and every other 2D shooter ever made. Worse yet, the game is slow beyond belief. You might want to sit this bee game out.

Cyberbots: Fullmetal Madness (Arcade) -
I respect Capcom for going out on a limb and giving us a 2D fighter like no other, but I've never been a big fan of Cyberbots. Maybe it's the way the characters control or my complete indifference to large mech suits, but I'm just not that excited about this game. However, I do recommend people play it at least once so that they see that Capcom could make a fighting game that wasn't a Street Fighter clone.

Kamikaze (Commodore 64) -
Kamikaze is a weird little 2D shooter for the Commodore 64. In a lot of ways Kamikaze feels like a cross between Choplifter and Sky Kid. You play an airplane that can fly either left or right, dodging enemies and saving hostages. The problem is that the controls don't always work like they should, the game is especially frustrating when you accidentally turn around instead of just slowing down to dodge and enemy. This is a good idea, but it's not a fun game.

Mean Machine (Commodore 64) -
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you could take a combat racing game (like Full Auto or wipEout) and see it from a 2D overhead perspective? Yeah, mean neither. But if that's something you're curious about then make sure and check out Mean Machine. In a lot of ways Mean Machine is a Spy Hunter clone; only in this game you have limited missiles. Make of that what you will.

Miami Chase (Commodore 64) -
You know what Miami Chase is? It's a weird combination of the original 2D Grand Theft Auto and A.P.B. While it's nowhere near as entertaining as either of those games, Miami Chase proves to be one of the better Commodore 64 games uploaded to GameTap this week. The graphics are surprisingly good and the game runs as a fast pace. Too bad the controls are a little rough, but outside of that this is a solid action game.

Rally Cross Simulator (Commodore 64) -
Rally Cross Simulator is yet more proof that old school racing games are hard to enjoy given today's standards. This is an overhead 2D racing game, and like all overhead 2D racing games it has poor control. Worse yet, the courses are boring and you never really know how you stack up against the competition. It's better to just give into the guilty pleasure of Miami Chase.

Tilt (Commodore 64) -
If you're only going to sample one Commodore 64 game, then make sure that it's Tilt. With a name like Tilt you might think this is just another pinball game, but instead it's a strange Super monkey Ball-style game where you try to guide a marble through a maze without hitting the sides. What sets this game apart is how the game appears to move in 3D, even though it's basically just a 2D game. The controls take a little getting used to, but Tilt is definitely a game worth checking out.


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

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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