(editors note: Cyril turned this in on time, we just had some issues getting it up in time. We apologize for the delay -Chuck)
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 another short episode, but that doesn't mean it's not good. Both Nintendo and GameTap managed to upload solid games that are well worth your time and money. This week we have Kirby's Dream Land 3 on the Virtual Console. And if that's not your thing, then maybe you'll enjoy Grid and Just Cause on the GameTap service. Find out what we think when you read another exciting episode the Retro Round-Up!
Kirby's Dream Land 3
(Virtual Console/Super NES/$8)
What Is It?
Kirby's Dream Land 3 may not be one of those games that everybody's been asking for, but Nintendo's Super NES platformer is a fantastic way to start out the new year. Released in 1998, it came out at a time when people's attention had been diverted by fully realized 3D worlds on the Nintendo 64. Who in their right mind was going to pick up this outdated 2D sprite-based platformer when they could have Super Mario 64 or GoldenEye 007? People with good taste in platformers, that's who. Unfortunately there weren't a lot of those people left over, so chances are you missed this gem the first time around. Fans of Kirby's outings will no doubt feel at home with this third (and final) 16-bit adventure. The controls are familiar and the worlds feel like they are straight out of past Kirby games. At the time that was a problem, since this game felt a little too familiar for comfort. However, here we are 11 years later and it's hard to argue against the quality of Kirby's Dream Land 3. It's not that the game has gotten better, but rather the fact that we've had more than a dozen years of amazing 3D polygons and camera issues. Sometimes all we need is a really good 2D platformer. Kirby's Dream Land 3 is just that. It may not be as good as Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, but it's clear that there was a lot of time and care put into this sequel and at $8 you shouldn't pass it up.
Does It Still Hold Up?
If there's one thing Nintendo is good at, it's publishing 2D platformers that withstand the test of time. Outside of a few exceptions (the original Kid Icarus), Nintendo's track record is nearly spotless. Kirby's Dream Land 3 is no exception, the controls are spot on the graphics are phenomenal. In fact, after spending so many years staring at 3D polygons, it's refreshing to come back and see these expertly crafted 2D sprites. Instead of trying to wow us with gimmicky pre-rendered graphics, this Kirby game takes a traditional approach that ends up looking even better today than it did back then.
Is It Worth The Money?
It's rare to see a classic Super NES game that few people have played, yet that's exactly what Kirby's Dream Land 3 is. Seeing as it was released in 1998, it wouldn't surprise me if most of Nintendo's core fans completely missed this game the first time around. Getting a brand new 2D platformer for a mere $8 is a steal, so this game is most certainly worth your money. Nintendo has been on a roll lately; we ended 2008 with the amazing Phantasy Star IV and began the year with this stunning platformer. I can only hope that Nintendo continues to offer us more games like this; it just might make up for the fact that they are only uploading one Virtual Console game a week.
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!
Last week we introduced our brand new review system for GameTap, and much to my surprise everybody seemed to love it. This week we're going to continue to talk about GameTap and its games using the ancient art of haiku poetry. The good news is that we have a couple of solid games this time around, so the haikus should be a little more positive than they were last week. This week paying subscribers (Gold Members) are able to download and play one of 2008's best racing games, Grid. On top of Grid we also get Magic Academy. If you're not into racers or magic (or don't have a paid subscription), GameTap has also decided to upload the moderately successful (yet still fun) Just Cause. Keep in mind, Just Cause is only free for one week only, so if you're interested make sure and head on over to GameTap and check it out now! Let's see what kind of haikus I can come up with for these three GameTap titles ...
It's not a great game.
Wannabe GTA clone.
Parachutes are fun.
Grid is no Burnout.
But don't let that stop you.
A must-own racer.
A school of magic.
A new Harry Potter game?
Nope, just cashing in.