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 take a trip back to the original Final Fantasy, enlist in the Thorium War and then search for words in Word Searcher! All this can be yours when you check out this week's exciting episode of the Retro Round-Up!
What Is It?
If you don't know what Final Fantasy is, then I'm not sure what you're doing reading my weekly retro column. Final Fantasy may not have been the earliest role-playing game, but it's certainly one of the most copied. This adventure game spawned a dozen sequels (with two more on the way), plenty of spin-offs and a recently released spectacular
fighting game. This is the 8-bit game that started it all, the simple adventure that let you choose your team, level them up and ultimately defeat true evil. It also introduced many of the Final Fantasy cliches, as well as craft workable turn-based combat and repeating themes. It's also the hundredth time this game has been remade, rereleased or ported. But that doesn't matter, because this Virtual Console release signals a promising sign for Square Enix. This marks the first time the company has decided to release one of their major franchises on Nintendo's download service, which hopefully means we'll start to see other Square Enix games soon. Final Fantasy may not have the jaw-dropping cinemas or the hours of voice acting, but it tells a compelling story with likeable characters and great music.
Does It Still Hold Up?
The Final Fantasy of today is full of gorgeous graphics, amazing character designs and cinemas that rival Hollywood. They are also huge adventures with tons of enormous summons, magic spells and side quests. This Final Fantasy doesn't have any of that. This is a modest quest filled with two-dimensional characters and simplistic animations. The battles take place on a black background, the enemies are constantly repeating and the story is told entirely in text. That doesn't make the game bad, not by any means, but it's certainly jarring going from Final Fantasy XIII to the original 8-bit version. There are better looking (and playing) versions of this game currently available, but this NES game has a certain charm that is unmistakable.
Is It Worth the Money?
Let's assume that you don't own any of the remakes, rereleases or ports. Wait ... where did everybody go? I was just speaking rhetorically, obviously everybody has owned Final Fantasy in one form or another. But let's say you haven't, this original 8-bit version is $5, a good deal for the amount of game you end up getting. However, can't forget that there are cheap remakes on systems people currently play. Are the improved graphics and better translation worth the extra dough? If not, then this dirt cheap Virtual Console release is well worth picking up.
WiiWare Limerick Theater
Every week Nintendo announces their new Virtual Console offerings. But what you may not know is that they also announce the newest games for the Wii's specialized WiiWare channel. This is the place where you can download cheap smaller games, the type of titles you would only pay a few dollars for. Thus far we haven't spent much time covering these hidden gems, but today that's going to end. Starting today we're going to cover the WiiWare line-up just as we would any other section. To keep things consistent, we have decided to post all WiiiWare reviews in the form of a limerick. This week we figure out who would buy a game like Word Searcher!
(Digital Leisure Inc./$5)
I used to think that it was cool to search for words; at least that's what I had always heard. But the bullies would fight and pull my underpants so tight, that I realized it was only for nerds.
The Great DSiWare Haiku
Not content with the Virtual Console and WiiWare, Nintendo has decided to offer up a THIRD avenue for downloading games. That's right, it's the DSiWare, and it's the best (and only) way to download games to your brand new Nintendo DSi. Each week we take a look at Nintendo's uploads through the form of poetry. Haiku, to be exact. Will this reviews help your purchase of DSiWare games? Nah, but they're a lot of fun to read. This week we enlist in the Thorium War!
Thorium Wars (Big John Games/$10)
It's time to pull out.
The war hasn't started yet.
Just getting ready!