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
Why is Nintendo having such a difficult time releasing quality games on the Virtual Console? Oh sure, a couple weeks ago we had Final Fantasy, but that gem was couched between Altered Beast, Crash 'n' The Boys and this week's crummy offerings. Want a lesson in mediocrity? Then you've come to the right episode, because this week we take a look at Final Fight 2 (Super NES) and the arcade version of Rygar. All of this can be yours when you read this week's episode of the Retro Round-Up!
Final Fight 2
What is It?
Believe it or not, there once was a time when Final Fight was considered one of Capcom's best games. Not only was it a Super NES launch game, but for many it was THE Super NES game to get (right after F-Zero and Super Mario World, that is). This simple era was back before anybody had heard about Street Fighter II, the game that would singlehandedly outmode the 2D brawler market. Released in 1993, Final Fight was a Super NES exclusive that tried to woo gamers away from Sega's increasingly popular Streets of Rage franchise. This time around gamers could choose from three characters (Haggar and two new fighters, Maki and her friend Carlos Miyamoto). Better yet, you could also play the game two-players simultaneously, one of the biggest concerns with the first release. These improvements are definitely appreciated, but they came a little too late if you ask me. By 1993 Super NES owners were already addicted to Street Fighter II, so the prospect of playing another 2D brawler (no matter how good it is) just wasn't as appealing as it once was. Couple that with a short campaign, so-so graphics and a forgettable storyline, and you have a Final Fight game that tries really hard but doesn't quite live up to its legacy.
Does It Still Hold Up?
After all these years it's a little depressing to go back and play Final Fight 2. The game is competently designed, there's nothing about it that is technically bad. The controls are fine and the graphics are about as good as the first installment. The problem is that there's nothing fresh or original about it. You just go around and punch and kick people, eat out of garbage cans and fight cheap bosses. It's not that the game doesn't hold up, it's that the genre feels ancient by today's standards.
Is It Worth The Money?
Earlier this year I celebrated the franchise's birthday in a feature called, 20 Years of Final Fight
. At that time I ended up going through all of the Final Fight games, and while Final Fight 2 was hardly the worst, it's not exactly a must-buy game. Asking $8 for this shallow brawler is offensive, it's games like this game show the ills of the Virtual Console's inflexible price structure. The good news is that this upload suggests that we'll soon see the far superior Final Fight 3. Save your money for that, it's criminally underappreciated by the gaming masses.
What Is It?
Don't get too excited, because we're about to talk about the original arcade version of Rygar. In case you missed this in the arcades or on one of the home consoles/portables (NES, Lynx, etc.), Rygar is a game about a dead warrior (that's you) who rises from his grave to do battle with some mysterious evil. To do this you use something called the Diskarmor, a yo-yo-type weapon that literally has you throwing your large shield at enemies. Like Contra, Tecmo's Rygar was a much better game when it was reworked for the NES. There you will find real structure, fun bosses and levels that changed. Sadly that's not what you can expect from this arcade game. Instead you get an obscenely difficult action game that isn't all that much fun in retrospect. But don't worry, the far superior NES version will hit the Virtual Console eventually ... and it will be cheaper!
Does It Still Hold Up?
This arcade version of Rygar suffers from many of the issues associated with 2D arcade games of the era, including stiff controls, redundant backgrounds, boring character designs and a non-existent story. Outside of the ludicrous introduction story, there really isn't much of a narrative in this action game. That would be fine if the gameplay could make up for it, but it can't. So instead you're left with a game that has a lot of wasted potential.
Is It Worth The Money?
Don't buy the arcade version of Rygar, especially knowing that the NES game will hit in the near future. I would also suggest you not buy the Lynx version, if that's ever offered. In fact, the only version of Rygar you should pay attention to is for the NES. While I certainly appreciate Nintendo giving the Virtual Console Arcade some love, I would much rather have a genuine classic instead of this generic hack and slash game.