Eclectic VC Friday
If anything would surprise us on a Friday morning, it would be no Virtual Console games coming out on the Shop Channel as seen by European Wiis. And that particular kind of surprise did not crop up today. It would surprise us if it did, after all.
As the sequel to the previously released Alien Crush, this is a pretty nifty pinball game with an underworldly graphical theme.
The original adventure of Samus Aran, where she explores the depths of the alien planet Zebes
all alone, upgrades the hell out of her power suit and learns all about the creepy Metroids and
the danger they'd pose to the galaxy at large if they ever should spread to other worlds.
This is a substantial and engaging non-linear platformer, at times side-scrolling, at other times definitely vertical in nature. There are lots of secrets, lots of different nasties, and pretty intimidating boss fights to conquer. If you ever wanted to be able to temporarily turn enemies into stair steps with an ice beam, to help you ascend a high vertical shaft, this is the game for you. The big annoyance is that there is no in-game map, and there really should be for a game of this size.
Kirby's Ghost Trap
Another Tetris-like falling-stuff-stacking game, this time with excellent presentation and a story mode with proper levels and "enemies"; the deal for that mode, as with the usual multiplayer modes in similar games, is that a successful adversary can add debris to your own neatly controlled stack of falling stuff, interfering with your best laid plans.
They're all good. And at the same time, they're all easily replaced.
Metroid absolutely deserved becoming a big franchise, it is a classic masterpiece, and a defining NES title. However … it is hard to get into it now. Its large world can be quite disorienting, you'd really have to hand-draw a map for this game, and nobody wants to do that nowadays. Then it's abnormally difficult, and of course the graphics don't look too hot anymore. Also one of the sound channels used by the (excellent!) background music serves double-duty for various sound effects, so the score will thin out whenever you shoot something. Or something.
What we really want to recommend as a replacement is a GBA Metroid game, either Metroid Fusion or, with slightly more mixed feelings, Metroid Zero Mission. Both offer the same claustrophobic, athmospheric exploration. The former is the more focused game, with better rewards for expert play and a more menacing athmosphere, while the latter is truer to the original (it is somewhat of a remake after all, including the entire Metroid game area plus some new adjuncts). Just take your pick. If you don't have a GBA, look forward to the inevitable Super Metroid release for the Virtual Console. That's the game you really want to be playing, and now that the predecessor is out of the way, we are surely one step closer to getting it.
Metroid itself, nowadays, not so much we are afraid.
The other two are quite simple. Unless you have Alien Crush, you don't have a good VC pinball game yet, and you might want one. The entire genre has been hiding somewhere for years, so chances are you don't have a pinball game for anything. So. Pinball games usually do not excel in story-telling, but they are otherwise worthy time-wasters, in a high-score driven sort of way. It just so happens that Devil's Crush is a very good specimen, unlike that primitive NES one of which we don't remember the name at the moment anyway.
Kirby's Ghost Trap is one worthy contender in a group of games that you should have at least one of. But. It is in our opinion simply too expensive for what it is. You can play any number of Tetris clones for free on the internet, and as cute as it looks, at 800 points it is a clear no.