Please note that this opinion piece will discuss spoilers. Therefore, I’ve implemented a jump. For those who are curious as to what I think but don’t want anything ruined, I will write the majority of the piece without spoilers, and then flag the offending words AFTER the trailer at the bottom. So you can read through the article with nary a concern until you see the trailer at the bottom, in which I will discuss some of the key story bits and how they were executed. (more…)
All posts tagged wii
Posted by WildcatJF on January 7, 2013
No Virtual Console support this week for North America usually translates to me writing a VC No-Shows, but I’ve noticed a disturbing trend as of late. SimCity for the SNES disappeared from the VC the day after New Years, joining several other games that have been removed from the service over the last couple of years. I’d like to list all of these titles and keep this post as a running tally of what games used to be a part of the VC library and posit why they were removed.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Konami)
Date Removed – 1/26/2012
Why is it Missing Now? – When Konami and UBI Soft reached a deal to release Konami’s TMNT titles on various DL services, it signaled a hopeful flood of Konami’s classic TMNT lineup for the Virtual Console. Only Konami’s first NES effort made it onto Nintendo’s services, and all of the games issued across all consoles as part of that agreement are now no longer available. Tragic, as this game is easily the weakest of the bunch, and seeing the others would have been a boon.
Date Removed – 1/2/2013
Why is it Missing Now? – I can only presume that Nintendo had some sort of arrangement with Electronic Arts to re-release their take on Maxis’ classic, and perhaps 1/2/2013 was the end of their agreement. Otherwise, I’ve got no idea! It’s apparently still available in Europe as of this writing.
Donkey Kong Country series (Nintendo/Rare)
Date Removed – All were taken down 11/16/12
Why are they Missing Now? – The sudden disappearance of one of Nintendo’s SNES stalwart franchises was a surprise last November. They did at least announce their removal in advance (unlike SimCity above). Screwattack posits that Nintendo has to work out a licensing deal with Rare (despite owning the franchise and characters) every time they re-release the SNES games, and they chose to let the Wii VC license expire. Hopefully, once the WiiU VC is established, these will return.
Super R-Type (Irem)
Date Removed – 3/30/2012
Why is it Missing Now? – Simple explanation here; Irem pulled all of their DL titles from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft in March 2012 due to financial hardships and company restructuring.
Date Removed – 9/30/2011
Why is it Missing Now? – This was the first game to be dropped from the VC, and I imagine it was due to Irem’s monetary difficulties much as the later removals were.
Date Removed – 3/30/2012
Why is it Missing Now? – Try not to mind the parroting, but it is the same as Super R-Type above; Irem pulled all of their DL titles from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft in March 2012 due to financial hardships and company restructuring. Expect to see it some more…
Date Removed – 3/30/2012
Why is it Missing Now? – Irem pulled all of their DL titles from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft in March 2012 due to financial hardships and company restructuring. *squawk*
Ninja Spirit (Irem)
Date Removed – 3/30/2012
Why is it Missing Now? – Irem pulled all of their DL titles from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft in March 2012 due to financial hardships and company restructuring…*Wildcat wants a cracker!*
Legend of Hero Tohma (Irem)
Date Removed – 3/30/2012
Why is it Missing Now? – Irem pulled all of their DL titles from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft in March 2012 due to financial hardships and company restructuring…and that’s the last time we should see that! (sorry for the bad parrot puns :p )
Silent Debuggers (Data East/G-Mode)
Date Removed – 3/1/2012
Why is it Missing Now? – G-Mode pulled three of their Data East-developed titles for the TG-16, but it’s unclear why exactly they did so. The NeoGeo and NES Data East titles remain on the service (Magical Drop 2/3, Street Slam, Spinmaster, Fighter’s History Dynamite and Burgertime [which was just released in December 2012!]), so who really knows what happened here.
Bloody Wolf (Data East/G-Mode)
Date Removed – 3/1/2012
Why is it Missing Now? – Another Data East-developed title yanked for the TG-16 by G-Mode for unknown reasons.
Drop-Off (Data East/G-Mode)
Date Removed – 3/1/2012
Why is it Missing Now? – Another Data East-developed title yanked for the TG-16 by G-Mode for unknown reasons. *cough*
That’s all of them as of January 5th, 2013. Let’s hope the purging ceases or that the Wii U VC opens up and brings back some of these along with it.
Posted by WildcatJF on January 5, 2013
The Last Story – “Theme” (Title Screen, Wii, Nintendo/Mistwalker/XSEED, Nobuo Uematsu)
I’ve been greatly enjoying my time with The Last Story. Every time I start it up I’m greeted by this delightful, emotional piece. It fits the mood of the game pretty well, methinks. Uematsu did a pretty solid job on the overall soundtrack, so expect some more Last Story picks down the road.
Posted by WildcatJF on January 2, 2013
There was no Christmas Wii VC tidings, but that’s okay I guess. I do have a recommendation to share no matter Nintendo’s apathy. :p
Shock Troopers (NGAC)
PRO – Excellent overhead run-n-gun action. Colorful graphics and smooth animation unite with nigh-perfect controls. Loads of replay due to three different paths to take (that also can be combined for more differences!) and two main methods of character selection (go solo or have three teammates you can swap depending on the circumstances). Surprisingly fair difficulty compared to many other SNK games.
CON – Some mildly annoying sound clips. The PS2 SNK Arcade Classics port has some slowdown, but I think that’s a localized case. Can get a bit monotonous.
OVERALL - The best overhead shooter I’ve played. Highly recommended for those who don’t have easy access to the Wii SNK Arcade Classics 1.
Posted by WildcatJF on December 23, 2012
106. Excitebike 64 (N64, Nintendo/Left Field Productions)
Brief Synopsis – This is the sequel to the NES Excitebike, developed by Left Field Productions. It is considered one of the better racing games on the console, featuring one of the earliest attempts of a random track (the desert track pictured here), which warps and changes depending on the player’s interaction with it.
Why is it Missing? – There’s two reasons I can immediately think of, plus a lesser yet likely third. The first? It includes the original NES Excitebike as an unlockable, which presents competition for the standalone title. The second? It includes licensed bike brands that would need to be programmed out. Waverace 64 and 1080 Snowboarding did as well and are up on the VC without those licenses, so that’s the weaker of the three reasons. The third is the fragmentation of the relationship between Nintendo and Left Field. The two were pretty good buddies in the Nintendo 64 era, working on three Kobe Byrant NBA games and this particular title. Nintendo did invest in Left Field in 1998, but Left Field bought out that stake in 2002 and regained independence, leading to a split between the two. The company was working on the sequel to 1080 Snowboarding before the separation, but that project was stalled, forcing Nintendo Software Technologies to step in and create what became 1080 Avalanche. This is the only game that could potentially see Virtual Console release out of Left Field’s contributions, but I do not know if Nintendo cares enough to try to work out a deal with the company again to re-release it…if that’s even a concern. I’m sure Nintendo owns the code and all, but the second party issue is one we’ve seen time and time again (Rare, anyone?), and that may be the sticking point here.
Other (Legal) Options – The Nintendo 64 is the sole choice for you here.
Posted by WildcatJF on December 20, 2012
With winter break fully upon our lives, I’ve decided to finally begin my playtime with The Last Story. I ranted, raved and rambled about the game since it was announced back in 2010, and I must admit, it’s still surreal having a North American copy of the game in my hands. It was quite the ride to get to this point. I know I said I would no longer do impression pieces, but this is not so much a reactionary piece but more of a analysis. Was all of the clamoring that I made worth it?
Two hours into the game, I’m feeling pretty happy with the experience so far. The demo-esque first dungeon gave a decent idea of what combat is like; I’m still a little shaky on the whole engine, but it seems intriguing. The camaraderie of your team is pretty infectious; the cast are a little derpy at times (more on that in a bit), but they genuinely have a clear fondness for each other. They look out for each other, barb each other on (especially Syrenne), and treat each other like friends. It adds a lot to the atmosphere. The early environments are a little deviant from the standard cave/underground area you normally see in RPG’s. Similar yet unique. The enemies are also nice alternates of the common tropes; the skeletons in particular were pretty cool looking. It’s too early to know for sure if I am fully supportive of the battling part of the game, but it seems promising.
I’ve spent about half of my time exploring the city and taking in its scope. The Last Story features one of the more believable and alive cityscapes I’ve played in a game. Lots of people reacting to you, little touches that sell the accuracy (hitting Zael’s head on a sign, for one), mostly solid VA work that backs the majority of the dialogue…this is grand stuff. The music is quite lovely, too.
The tavern lets Zael interact with his teammates, and…here’s where the derp mention earlier comes in. I knew Syrenne was an alcohol lover; I did not realize she was an full-blown alcoholic. Yikes. Lowell’s flirty playboy behavior is comical, but I can imagine that it’ll rub me the wrong way sooner or later. Calista (or Lisa at this early stage) takes the ignorant princess/noble routine to the extreme, and it was a little wince-worthy at times. Zael can be charmingly stupid at times, too. However, it’s really early on in the game, so I’m withholding my judgment until the end. I do hope things swing a little from this point, though. I do like the cast, but I haven’t fully embraced them quite yet.
So, two hours in, I’m curious to see where the game takes me. I admit: I dreamed about this most of the night, so despite a little criticism here I’m clearly relishing what I’m doing. When you have so much anticipation built up, it’s impossible not to feel a bit of disappointment. Luckily, my issues are fairly minor and I’m excited to play more.
Posted by WildcatJF on December 16, 2012
Real Bout Fatal Fury is out on the VC, and I’m also discussing some other Genesis titles today. Woo!
Real Bout Fatal Fury (FFBA2)
PROS – The launch of the second series of Fatal Fury games brings a larger roster than any that preceded it. Interactive stages allow ring-outs, which are pretty cool. Looks and plays well.
CONS – Its sequels, which are big improvements, are already available.
OVERALL – Not worth the 900 points on its own with its better sequels around.
Ristar (SGC, SUGC)
PROS – Bright, colorful graphics make for a charming excursion. Bionic Commando-esque gameplay that is well-executed.
CONS – Large worlds that I personally got lost in. The arm mechanic alone is okay, but can get a little tiring.
OVERALL – A solid game that just hasn’t resonated with me. If you like platformers that feature grappling, you may like this.
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (SGC, SUGC)
PROS – Kooky! …colorful! …um, I don’t have much else to say.
CONS – Unorthodox gameplay concepts like rock paper scissors for boss fights and shop transactions add too much randomness into the mix. Alex controls awkwardly. Rather dull execution of platforming action.
OVERALL – I really do not understand the appeal of Alex Kidd, although I’ve heard his Master System excursions were generally better. As for this, I cannot recommend such a bizarrely boring game to anyone.
Comix Zone (SGC, SUGC)
PROS – Fluid comic book presentation that is quite novel. Strong graphic style that is very effective.
CONS – Convoluted gameplay and controls. Unfairly brutal difficulty from the get-go.
OVERALL – Comix Zone has some potential to be a really fun action/beat-em-up hybrid, but its visual hook is undermined by its shoddy player interaction. If you have a lot of patience, you may be able to enjoy it, but I certainly couldn’t.
Posted by WildcatJF on December 15, 2012
Wow, G-Mode managed to sneak Burgertime out onto the Wii Virtual Console this past week! I didn’t think we’d see anything beyond NeoGeo games on the service following the Wii U launch. Way to surprise me!
PROS – Novel spin on the maze genre. Challenging level design that pushes the player’s forethought. Amusing premise.
CONS – Controls are a little on the loose side, which can lead to accidental deaths. The NES port is not as good as the arcade original…which is on an inexpensive comp for the Wii!
OVERALL – Fans of quirky arcade games may want to look into this…if Data East’s Wii comp doesn’t otherwise interest them. I personally am a fairly big fan of the game.
Posted by WildcatJF on December 9, 2012
Xenoblade Chronicles – Main Theme (Title Screen, Nintendo/Monolith Soft, Wii, Yoko Shimomura/Tsutomu Narita)
Music is such a wondrous feature of games, and it’s easy for me to get completely embroiled in the medium of game music when I hear something that truly blows my mind. It took a couple of listens, but I think Xenoblade Chronicles’ title theme stands as Yoko Shimomura’s masterwork. It’s captivating, heart-wrenching, and jammed so full of emotional weight. Even before starting the game proper, it sets you up for a stirring epic. This is truly a song highlight, and I am going to need to amend my Top 100 Gaming Songs to include this.
Posted by WildcatJF on December 5, 2012
While I was on my vacation (and throughout November), there’s been one game I can talk about that was released onto the Virtual Console. I’ve also played a few VC titles myself that I had not spoken of before! So, let’s get caught up on the VC scene!
Before we start, just to alert you, I’m going to be revamping this entire feature over Christmas break, so expect some massive shifts to the page’s content in the future. You’ll be able to get a glimpse into the direction I’m taking it from these new entries. I want to make them mini Opinion pieces, with pluses and minuses and an overall recommendation. All of my pieces will eventually feature this format. I’m going to separate out Nester’s to the bottom of the page so that they won’t get lost in the shuffle (and will serve as a solid second opinion). So, with that all out of the way, let’s truly begin.
Monster World IV (also on PS3/Xbox 360)
PRO – Charming graphics and a catchy overworld theme caught my attention quickly. Add in some great action/platforming/puzzling and solid controls and you have a wonderful game in the making. Asha is a well-animated and delightful heroine. Lastly, I really like the atmosphere of the game. It’s sort of Arabian Nights-esque but with a strong anime spin on it, which makes it really delightful. This is what Zelda II should have been!
CON – It’s nice Sega translated the game, but it’s rather sterile. I guess it’s better than nothing! A part in the Ice Pyramid area requires button taps to progress past doors, but maintains the Genesis control scheme information over updating it to the Wii’s. The bosses are okay but have been so far either sort of cheap or really simple to exploit. They feel disconnected from the rest of the game.
OVERALL – I’m glad to have purchased it. I may have some small quibbles about the localization and the bosses feel more like an accessory than as a key component to the game, but overall it’s fantastic and one I’m happy to recommend.
Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (included on Dracula X Chronicles for PSP)
PRO – The best controlling old-school Castlevania, without question. Ricther is fluid and rarely makes the player feel like blaming the controls over their own poor reactions. The graphics and music are also spectacular. Engaging boss fights and dynamic level design (with secret rooms and a bonus character to unlock!) wrap up the total package.
CON – It feels like a classic CV in terms of difficulty, but that’s more my issue than the game’s. Cutscenes are pretty dated now. Not keen on the anime trappings of ‘Vania (at least I’m consistent).
OVERALL – A hearty recommendation for fans of the franchise and for anyone who loves a great 2D experience.
PRO – Large, animated characters that sell the concept of comical boxing. Responsive controls. Fairly fun deciphering what to do per opponent!
CON – If cluing in on tells, which essentially are puzzle aspects, aren’t your bag, this probably will bore you.
OVERALL – Punch-Out!! is a series I’ve barely dabbled in, so I’m perhaps not the best judge, particularly with only two opponents tested as of this writing. It’s…okay thus far. I’ll update this when I get more playtime with it.
The Last Blade 2
PRO – Lush backgrounds, dramatic music, beautiful sprites and animation; this game is one of the most lavish I’ve had the opportunity to play. It has style and it knows how to use it. The characters are deep and well-designed. Gameplay is engaging and offers a lot of variety. Uncensored unlike the DC port.
CON – Requires a lot of playtime to understand its nuances (which isn’t much of a con when a game looks and plays this well). More technical than many other 2D fighters, which may alienate some.
OVERALL – One of SNK’s greatest games, and it should absolutely be considered for fans of fighting games.
Posted by WildcatJF on December 2, 2012