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Virtual Console Mondays: December 3 and December 10, 2007

by Aaron Kaluszka - December 11, 2007, 1:37 am
Total comments: 26

Two weeks and no clunkers.

Today marks a special day for the Virtual Console: it gets an N64 game! And this game is one of the first to have added features for the Virtual Console version. It's too bad Nintendo didn't realize how awesome this was back when they re-added slowdown to Star Fox 64, or failed to include online support in Mario Kart 64, or honestly any multiplayer game on VC. At these prices, shouldn't we get tiny bonuses?

Either way, there's at least one game for you in here somewhere, even if they aren't games we recommended for everyone.



Zanac

SystemVirtual Console - Nintendo Entertainment System

Cost500 Points
Players1
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedNov 1986

Click here for a video preview

The availability of so many shooter games on the VC makes it really easy to gloss over new releases in the genre, and Zanac does little to catch your attention as you scroll past it on the Wii Shop Channel. When some of the enemies in the game are little more than gray boxes, you can't expect much visual punch. But once you get past the screenshots and into the gameplay, Zanac is surprisingly innovative, featuring a dynamic difficulty system that is almost unheard of in video games.

For example, whether or not you beat a boss within the time limit that appears on the screen, you can continue the level and resume flying past them. However, failing to do so causes the game to throw more enemies at you. Sometimes reconnaissance ships will appear on the screen and you must destroy them lest they escape to call in more and stronger enemies. The game even decides whether to throw more or less enemies at you depending on how well you're faring at the moment.

This means that while Zanac is still a challenge, it's a flexible one that won't try to overwhelm you. Throw in a range of unorthodox power-ups, as well as unlimited continues, and Zanac turns out to be an item of interest to any old school shooter fans.

Recommended for Fans

- Carmine Red



Eternal Champions

SystemVirtual Console - Genesis

Cost800 Points
Players2
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingTeen
ReleasedYear 1993

Click here for a video preview

Back in the early 90s, Mortal Kombat was turning the fighting genre into a bloody mess. It was a profitable mess, too, which meant clones were sure to follow. Eternal Champions for the Genesis is one of the "me too" games of the era. It features a roster of nine characters, each from a different period of time and a unique style of fighting. Interestingly, the characters use real-life fighting styles and have dial-a-combo attack sequences, much like more modern MK games. There are also fatality-like moves called Overkills, although I couldn't figure out how they worked. Unlike MK, all special moves in Eternal Champions requires some special energy to use. If you run out, you can't do funky attacks. And hey, there's blood in the game. I guess Nintendo didn't bother to change it to sweat for the Wii version.

I'm going to give Eternal Champions a recommendation, but it comes with a few strings attached. First, the game looks pretty ugly, so you're not going to win over anyone with its looks. Second, you're really going to want to use a Wii Classic controller to play the game. It's a six-button Genesis game, so you're not going to get everything out of it using the Wii Remote, and the GameCube controller is just plain terrible for 2D fighting games. Third, it's pretty basic compared to other fighters of the time (like Mortal Kombat II). Despite all of that, it's still somewhat fun ... but just barely worth it if you have the right controller to play it with. -

Steven Rodriguez

Recommended for Fans

- Aaron Kaluszka



Dynastic Hero

SystemVirtual Console - TurboGrafx-16

Cost800 Points
Players1
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedYear 1993

Click here for a video preview

The Dynastic Hero is, in fact, Wonder Boy. Wonder Boy’s variety of console treatments and multiple publishers is too lengthy for the purpose of this recommendation. This is his fifth and final rendering, a remake of a Genesis game which was already released on the Virtual Console as Wonder Boy In Monster World. Wonder Boy is the Prince of Betras, Dyna, who vows to save the Insect Kingdom of Tarron from the evil Drilkor Empire. It’s a pretty straight-forward side-scrolling RPG. Wonder Boy looks a bit like Mega Man, plays a bit like Legend of Zelda II, and sounds a bit like Super Mario Bros. But you get to play an ocarina.

The Dynastic Hero, though not dynamic, is surprisingly charming. The controls for the Wii Remote can be confusing when playing the ocarina, but this control method is still the best bet. The graphics since Monster World are noticeably improved. The inclusion of an opening anime sequence with cheesy female vocalist is probably worth the price of admission. If you own Monster World and loved it or are just an anime fan, this is a cult classic, so go there if you dare.

Recommended for Fans

- Les Thomas



Ghosts 'n Goblins

SystemVirtual Console - Nintendo Entertainment System

Cost500 Points
Players2
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedSep 19, 1985

Click here for a video preview

This is one of those "Badge of Honor" games that old-school gamers brag about beating. There's a reason for this: Ghosts 'n Goblins may be one of history's toughest video games. The platforming premise isn't new, but the fact that Arthur (the protagonist) has but three lives and two hit points amid dozens upon dozens of enemy sprites and tricky jumps makes you sweat bullets. If the ghouls don't kill you, the unforgiving boss fights will.

Ghosts 'n Goblins piles on the challenge in a way that modern gamers will be unable to appreciate. Hell, even I had a tough time remember what made this game so great. It certainly doesn't look good--as Ghosts 'n Goblins was a port of an arcade cabinet, the graphics are primitive and more pixelated than I could stand. The sound effects have that ancient "bip boop" effect to them. If you're looking for a challenge, Capcom certainly delivered the goods, but you should beware of Ghosts 'n Goblins, because it's a lot harder than you think.

Recommended for Fans

- Zachary Miller



Baseball Stars 2

SystemVirtual Console - NEOGEO

Cost900 Points
Players2
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedAug 1994

Click here for a video preview

Baseball is very much an American sport, but the Japanese are even crazier about it than we are. This shows in most of the baseball games Japan makes, and Baseball Stars 2 is no exception. There are 12 different teams, of which six are available to select from depending on whether you select automatic or manual fielding. Because of the advanced (for the time) Neo-Geo hardware, all of the players in the game are detailed and comically exaggerated. A few times each game, you have an option to power-up your batter by putting a bigger bat into his hands. Pitchers can tire, and will look visibly pooped-out in both the pitcher window (a tired look on their face) and on the mound (you can see them taking deep breaths). The game progresses at a very fast pace, and all the while it's still a real, challenging baseball contest.

I was floored when I started playing Baseball Stars 2. After taking my first game into 14 innings and ultimately losing out, I was still having a ton of fun and wanted to start another game right away. The game looks fantastic, even more so considering the hardware it's on. It has some neat split-screen graphic effects and a catchy background music. The only real problem with the game is that base running is a little slow. Though there will be times when this annoys you (like when you're thrown out from left field), it makes things feel more like a real baseball game. You're only going to get a base hit if you find a gap. I like that a lot, and although $9 is pretty steep for a Neo-Geo game, Baseball Stars 2 is great enough for it to be worth it.

Recommended for Everyone

- Steven Rodriguez



Pokémon Snap

SystemVirtual Console - Nintendo 64

Cost1000 Points
Players1
ControllersWii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedJun 30, 1999

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Click here for a video preview

For most of us, the appeal of photographing Pokemon is not immediately apparent. In fact, the first couple of levels in Pokemon Snap may bore the tears out of you, as the game seems to move slowly and lack interaction. It's definitely worth persevering, though, because Snap becomes incredibly addictive as you gain new items, open more levels, and discover secret paths through those levels. The photography judging is surprisingly sophisticated and will have you taking tons of snapshots in the pursuit of the highest possible score. Eventually, you'll have a few ways to interact with Pokemon, goading them closer or annoying them for a funnier pose. Snap is a fairly short game and only features about 60 Pokemon in all (one reason why a sequel is often requested), but it's definitely worth your ten bucks.

Pokemon Snap is also the first Virtual Console game with modifications beyond localization. You can send your favorite photos to the Wii message board, where they can be forwarded with a message to anyone on your system's friend list. You can only activate this feature from a very specific place in the game's menus, so be sure to check the Operations Guide from the Home menu for details. Also, note that you can only export one photo per day, and if you are playing with the GameCube controller, you'll have to grab a Wii Remote for the export function. It's not a very useful addition to this game, but the potential for modifying other VC games is very exciting indeed.

Recommended for Everyone

- Jonathan Metts


Thanks to VG Museum for the classic screenshots.

Talkback

KDR_11kDecember 10, 2007

So between WBiMW and Dynastic Hero I should pick Dynastic Hero?

GoldenPhoenixDecember 10, 2007

That neogeo game sounds intriguing but after learning neo-geo games won't work on component cables, I'll have to regrettably pass. face-icon-small-sad.gif

LuigiHannDecember 10, 2007

165.png
Is that Tingle?

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusDecember 10, 2007

My little brother loves him some baseball games. Looks like Baseball Stars 2 will be the first game I send as a present.

MorariDecember 10, 2007

CENSORED FOR YOUR PROTECTION

Ummmm, aren't all N64 games $10?

ShyGuyDecember 11, 2007

Kairon will never give a "not recommended" score.

Quote

Originally posted by: Morari
Quote

Originally posted by: GoldenPhoenix
That neogeo game sounds intriguing but after learning neo-geo games won't work on component cables, I'll have to regrettably pass. face-icon-small-sad.gif


NeoGeo games don't work with component cables?! Well, I'm glad the NeoGeo didn't have a lot of good games then...

Pokemon Snap is too expensive. I was going to buy it the moment it went up until I saw the price. If it had been priced on a similar level to the other N64 games I could have gotten it and Super Mario Bros. - The Lost Levels. These overpriced games are really making it hard to properly utilize my Wii Points.


It seems to depend on your TV. I have run two NeoGeo VC games on my setup, which does use component cables.

Pokemon Snap costs the same as a normal N64 game, 1000 points. The only N64 game that costs more than that is Sin & Punishment, at 1200 points, because it is an import title. And it's still worth that. In fact, of the two games you mentioned, Lost Levels is actually the one with a higher than normal price -- it's 600 points whereas most NES games are 500.

DAaaMan64December 11, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: LuigiHann
165.png
Is that Tingle?


Thats what I thought when I saw that little picture too.

Quote

Kairon will never give a "not recommended" score.


Which one of these guys is Kairon?

Quote

Originally posted by: ShyGuy
Kairon will never give a "not recommended" score.


RARRR!!!

MorariDecember 11, 2007

CENSORED FOR YOUR PROTECTION

DjunknownDecember 11, 2007

Age has not been too kind to Eternal Champions. I still remember the ad campaign in the mag: "To prepare for Eternal Champions, use Street Fighter II as your training wheels."

EC took its cues from MK and SFII, but also did its own thing. My favorite character was the cybernetically enhanced kickboxer. He loved to fly and it showed. Could've been mistaken for a precursor to Adon in Street Fighter Alpha... I had fun with it back in the day, but I'd be hard-pressed to go back to it.

that Baby guyDecember 11, 2007

Believe it or not, Mr. Red has got me tempted to look at Zanac one day. I usually write off NES-age shmups, but this one has me intrigued a little.

MorariDecember 12, 2007

CENSORED FOR YOUR PROTECTION

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusDecember 12, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: thatguy
Believe it or not, Mr. Red has got me tempted to look at Zanac one day. I usually write off NES-age shmups, but this one has me intrigued a little.


Keep in mind, this NREFK.gif exists for a reason

I can't wait until you take that image off of your avatar Mr. Jack...

Nick DiMolaNick DiMola, Staff AlumnusDecember 12, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: Kairon
I can't wait until you take that image off of your avatar Mr. Jack...


face-icon-small-tongue.gif Well I suppose it's been up there long enough. Time for a switch back to classic mode.

Wait! I didn't mean it! /sad

GoldenPhoenixDecember 12, 2007

Well I downloaded Baseball Stars 2 and it WORKS with component cables, so woohoo. Anyway it is a great baseball game, everyone should pick it up!

KDR_11kDecember 12, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: ShyGuy
Kairon will never give a "not recommended" score.


Of course he will. To games like Zelda, Mario or Metroid.

GoldenPhoenixDecember 13, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: KDR_11k
Quote

Originally posted by: ShyGuy
Kairon will never give a "not recommended" score.


Of course he will. To games like Zelda, Mario or Metroid.


The sad thing is that it may be true!

Quote

Originally posted by: KDR_11k
Quote

Originally posted by: ShyGuy
Kairon will never give a "not recommended" score.


Of course he will. To games like Zelda, Mario or Metroid.


Wait until my Phantom Hourglass review! Just you wait!

SvevanEvan Burchfield, Staff AlumnusDecember 13, 2007
CalibanDecember 13, 2007

rofl, I can totally see kairon do that.

vuduDecember 13, 2007

What an odd first post after disappearing for a month ....

Quote

Originally posted by: Svevan
Just YOU wait.


*sigh*

I love that movie...

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