ron, Feb-23-2007

Friday Raider

Another Friday morning, another round of Virtual Console releases for the European Wii crowd.

The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time

Yes, that one, it's available now.
Not that I think it deserves all the warm love it gets, as it has a number of issues and annoyances, but it's still a very good game to this day. Just a bit vast and time-consuming in relation to most of the other, smaller, more casual-friendly games we had so far.
The main issue with Ocarina Of Time right now, for Wii owners, is that you probably played Twilight Princess, which is a bigger and more polished version of basically the same thing. You see, a large portion of Twilight Princess is fan-service, for those who loved Ocarina Of Time.

That seems to be the curse of the mainline Zelda series: whenever the games develop excellent new elements, the "fans" crawl out of the woodworks and demand their same old game back.
The reasons are of course irrelevant right now, but be warned that this is going to be a step back from Twilight Princess, and probably not that interesting unless you've been there yourself in the N64 days and just have to see it again.
We personally played it off the Wind Waker bonus disc on the Gamecube a while ago and … didn't … quite love it that much.

Kid Icarus

A vertically scrolling platformer, for the most part, with weapon and health upgrades that can partly be purchased for currency dropped by respawning enemies appearing in waves, or that will sometimes be awarded when you enter the right door, or that will be awarded by crossing certain thresholds in score. So we have basic shmup elements mixed with RPGish cash/"experience" grinding to improve your abilities, wrapped into a platformer shell. To borrow some Super Mario Bros terminology each "world" ends in a "castle" level that works more like a Zelda dungeon in that it isn't a linear scrolling level anymore but a maze of connected rooms that just switch.
At times it will also scroll horizontally. It is many games in one.

With so many familiar ideas all mixed together it feels almost like a common early precursor to both Metroid and Zelda 2. It brings together many interesting elements, for a game of its era anyway, all that is missing at times is the right proportion between them. It's not a bad game at all though, the controls are good, it has many well-made levels and good enemy design. It is merely outdone by more focused and more polished games that overlap its virtues, such as the aforementioned Metroid and Zelda 2, its difficulty curve is pretty whacked out, and some parts, especially in the "castles" can get very frustrating. We particularly hate being transformed into a helpless egg-plant, forced to back-track to a place where this can be undone.

In completely unrelated news

Tomb Raider: Legend,

of which we played the Gamecube version last week, is excellent stuff. Too short, at maybe nine hours, but sweet, we deem this the best Tomb Raider game ever by quite a margin. Lara Croft is still an attractive main character, mind you, but this time around the game has additional qualities, so it doesn't feel as much like the pure smut the series had degraded into earlier. Recommended for now. We might do a review.

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