White knights can't jump. Also, Elevators in Action!
Three games make up this week's set of Virtual Console releases. One of them is an NES port of an old arcade game. Another is a Genesis game you probably shouldn't bother with. The third is one of those games that will torture you to no end even as you continue to press start on the continue screen. Here are our recommendations for each one, denoted with the appropriate check mark, or lack thereof.
|System||Virtual Console - Super Nintendo Entertainment System|
|Released||Oct 04, 1991|
If you've never played Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts before, there is only one thing you need to know about it: Holy #*@$ is it hard. Though it looks to be just like any other side-scrolling action-platforming game from the same period, once playing it you'll know why this one is notorious: Once you commit to a jump, you can't change direction mid-flight. Though Arthur can double jump, it's easy to overshoot a ledge or fall right into an enemy. Such a change to a critical part of the traditional platformer turns it into a nightmare. Just getting to the end of the first level with your pants on will be an accomplishment, never mind the other seven. There are a bunch of different weapons and magic armor to help you along the way, but you only get to mess up once before you're required to restart a level after dying.
Despite the endless frustration, SG&G is still a fun game for those who don't mind dying on account of a foul jump. The restrictive jumping system actually takes a lot of the blame off the game if you die, since you need to be aware where you'll land when you hit the jump button. There is an option to increase the starting number of lives and to change button assignments so It'll work fine on either a Classic or GameCube controller. However, the frame rate really chops up in areas with a lot of stuff happening on screen at once. It doesn't distract too much from the rest of the game that much, but there may be a few times where the chugging catches you out. Even with that, you should get this if you think you're pretty good at games. It would like very much for it to kick your ass.
|System||Virtual Console - Genesis|
|Controllers||Wii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube|
|Released||Dec 16, 1989|
In this game you take the role of King Erik's son. Once thought lost in a great war between your native land, Excalabria, and the evil Cartahena, you were actually taken away by Blade, one of the King's most trusted compatriots. Now that you are of age, you've got to become stronger and faster as Cartahena is closing in on other nations. Being a 17-year old RPG, it's not surprising that there are random battles - my beef with the battle system is that its real-time combat just feels clunky. Collisions cause damage even if the enemy isn't attacking, but you'll have to get extremely close to use your sword, so a lot of unnecessary damage is dealt. Combine this with the nigh-incomprehensible first-person overworld where everything looks exactly the same (you acquire maps from new towns, but you'll still have to do a fair bit of traveling practically blind) and you're not exactly in for the best experience on Nintendo's service.
Although there was an overwhelming abundance of RPGs during the 16-Bit era, the genre hasn't been represented too well on the Virtual Console. In that sense, Sword of Vermilion is a welcome addition. Unfortunately, its shoddy gameplay prevents it from being a recommended purchase. We're guaranteed to get more RPGs as Virtual Console matures, so do yourself a favor and wait for better games.
|System||Virtual Console - Nintendo Entertainment System|
|Controllers||Wii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube|
The idea here is simple enough: You're a secret agent infiltrating a high-rise building from the very top. You've got to get down 30 floors using elevators and escalators, enter the red rooms to snag some secret files, and avoid the black-clad security shooting at you. You can shoot back in a standing, crouching or jumping position. You can control the elevators while you're standing in them, making it easy to crush anyone waking underneath you. Just be careful you don't get swished yourself, mmmmkay?
Elevator Action is boring to start off with, since most of the "action" involves you taking the lift down half of the building without much in the way of opposition. The bottom floors of the later levels, on the other hand, will have you jumping across elevator shafts and ducking for cover all over the place. (Just make sure you pick the right elevator!) This one's kind of an acquired taste, so if you're someone looking for any old VC download, this isn't it. People old enough to remember playing this in the arcades will get a kick out of it, though.