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Retro Round-up for September 20

Retro Round-up for September 20

Written by Cyril Lachel on 9/21/2007 for PS3   Wii   360  
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This Week in Defunct Games 28
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 yearn for the days when Nintendo and Microsoft were actually uploading good retro games. Unfortunately this week we have to talk about one of Nintendo's most disappointing games of all time, a terrible 3D shooter and yet another old school sports game that doesn't stack up. Maybe next week will be better. But for now, why not check out this week's games just for the heck of it ...
Super Thunder Blade
What Is It?
Do you remember a month ago when each week we were inundated by nothing but amazing Virtual Console games? Every Monday there were almost too many great games, people had to turn down a few worthwhile purchases because they simply didn't have the cash to buy them all. Well, apparently September is the month when you go back and buy all of those games you missed, because so far this month's Virtual Console games have sucked. Unfortunately we have to start with Super Thunder Blade, an embarrassing 3D shooter where you control a helicopter dodging buildings and shooting down bad guys. This was one of the Sega Genesis' very first games, and after spending a few seconds with it you can see the age. The 3D effects are absolutely horrendous and the difficulty is through the roof. The biggest problem with this game is that it's based on an arcade game that wasn't much fun to begin with, you basically do the same thing from level to level and the game just never becomes fun. There's no reason that Nintendo should have uploaded this game before the far superior Star Fox, Super Thunder Blade is terrible on so many levels.
Does It Still Hold Up?
I'll give Sega credit for at least trying to do 3D effects on a system that struggled with anything other than 2D, but Super Thunder Blade is a joke. The 3D effects are so bad that it's hard not to get sick from watching them. Unfortunately the terrible scaling is only the start of the problem; the controls are also a mess. Couple this with the fact that the game is almost impossible to beat and you have a game that probably shouldn't be played by anybody.
Is It Worth the Money?
No! I'm a huge fan of the Sega Genesis, but this console is definitely not meant to play 3D shooters.  Even more offensive is that Nintendo is charging $8 for this garbage. It's times like these when I feel like I should rant about how not every Genesis game is same and they are not all worth the full $8. If you really want Super Thunder Blade (and I'm not sure why you would) then do yourself a favor and buy the Sega Genesis Collection for the PSP/PS2. At least with that game you can play Super Thunder Blade for a few minutes (long enough to know it's utter trash) and then move on to the other 29 games in the package. Don't buy this game!

World Class Baseball
What Is It?
What is Nintendo trying to do to me? A few weeks ago I mentioned that we don't see a lot of sports games on the Virtual Console. And ever since I said that Nintendo has decided to post at least one sports game a week. This week it's World Class Baseball, the painfully average baseball game from the late 80s. To be fair to World Class Baseball, this game was released at a time when the TurboGrafx-16 was desperate for sports games, and for the most part this game did the trick. But like all early generation sports games, World Class Baseball was quickly surpassed by other, better baseball titles (such as World Stadium Baseball and Kowaga Puro Baseball). World Class Baseball is a competent enough sports games, the batting and pitching works for the most part and the fielding is okay. But why would you want to buy this game when you could go and pick up any one of the other, more recent baseball games for around the same price? The one thing this game has going for it is the inspired use of fake teams, such as the Paris Fries, Rome Togas, Tokyo Ninjas, Chicago Winds and Bangkok Buddhas ... now THAT'S a World Series! This isn't a terrible baseball game, but there's no denying that this kind of game has been improved upon countless times in the last twenty years.  
Does It Still Hold Up?
World Class Baseball plays a good game of baseball, but there's not much to it. The stadiums all kind of look the same, the characters are boring, and there's not much in the way of modes. You pretty much play a game of baseball against the computer or a friend, and that's it. In this day and age where you can trade players, play all the way up to the World Series and partake in a home run challenge, playing World Class Baseball feels empty and shallow. The game also feels old when you start to bat and pitch ... actually; the game just feels old in general.
Is It Worth the Money?
Sports games just don't hold up very well, there's a reason why 2003's baseball game is now $5 in the used bin. If a game from four years ago is considered useless in today's market, then just imagine what most people would think of this 18 year old game. This isn't a terrible game by any stretch, but it's also not useful at all. You might as well just go and pick up that $5 baseball game from 2003; it's going to have all of the enhancements that we're used to and real players and teams. 

Yoshi's Story
What Is It?
Hot on the heels of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island comes Yoshi's Story, one of Nintendo's most disappointing games. Released on the Nintendo 64 in 1998, Yoshi's Story represents everything that was wrong with that generation of Nintendo games. When this game was released it retailed for a whopping $60 (which in 2007 dollar is close to $75), to make matters even worse the game was incredibly short, you won't even need a full afternoon to make your way through this snorefest. Originally Yoshi's Story was designed as a sophisticated follow-up to the amazing Yoshi's Island, a game that is widely regarded as one of the best Super NES games ever released. Unfortunately this game finds itself in the embarrassing position of being a sort of Yoshi lite. Gone is the sophisticated puzzle aspect of the original, and instead we have an admittedly pretty but ultimately shallow children's game. The biggest problem I have with this game is that it is just too easy; none of the levels will challenge you in the slightest. Nintendo is known for their amazing level designs, yet none of that is on display when it comes to Yoshi's Story. Throw in some truly awful tunes (complete with Yoshi singing) and an adventure that will take you no time to complete and you have one of the worst first-party Nintendo 64 games ever made.
Does It Still Hold Up?
The problem with reviewing this game is that Yoshi's Story actually has solid controls; it's easy to move around and complete the levels without much problem. But that's the problem; it's too easy to beat the levels ... and the entire game. There's almost no challenge here and it's over far too quickly. I suspect that young kids may enjoy the game, but anybody who fell in love with Yoshi through Super Mario World or Yoshi's Island will have no problem whatsoever completing this game in no time at all.
Is It Worth the Money?
The biggest problem with the original Nintendo 64 version was that there wasn't a lot of value for your $60. It's hard not to feel ripped off when you plunk down that much money for a game that lasts no more than a couple hours. Ten years later that pill is a little easier to swallow, now that the game is $10 on the Virtual Console you won't have to worry about the value aspect of it. Unfortunately that doesn't change the fact that this game is far too easy and has very little replay. The $10 asking price is definitely more affordable, but when it comes right down to it there are far better games on the Virtual Console. Do yourself a favor and pass on this game and go pick up the recently released Yoshi DS game instead.

This Week in GameTap
Every week I plan on taking a look at the classic games being uploaded on the GameTap service. Regardless of whether it's part of their free or premium service, GameTap offers a wide variety of old school games that is worth checking out. Here are the most recent games uploaded to their server, keep in mind that all of these games are free to play starting today:
This week we only have one retro title uploaded to the GameTap service. That game is Vulgus, the 1984 arcade game by Capcom. This vertical shoot-em-up is in the same tradition as other Capcom classics, such as 1941 and Gun Smoke. Even if you haven't played this game before chances are good you're familiar with the set-up, you control a spaceship with a single objective: destroy incoming enemies. And guess what, you are stocked with a standard weapon that never runs out of bullets (handy) and a bomb that you can use only so many times. Sure you've heard it all before, Vuglus manages to hit on just about every shooter cliché. But in 1984 these elements weren't cliché; they were just part of playing a 2D shooter. Despite the fact that we've seen all this before, Vulgus is still a lot of fun for awhile. It's nowhere near as good as some of Capcom's later shooters, but still 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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