ron, Aug-03 2007

Altruistic VC Friday

As every Friday morning, we rushed towards our Wii to check out the inevitable new Virtual Console games on the Shop Channel. All for you.

Shinobi III

Remember when we told you to hold off on Ninja Spirit? The Shinobi series was the reason for that.
What we have here is a side-scrolling action game where your main guy can pummel hordes of enemies either in melee or with ranged weapons, with slight platforming thrown in for good measure. Shinobi III adds some (limited-use) special attacks, hefty boss battles and interlude levels (e.g. courses for horses) to make itself more interesting, and we dare say that works well.

Shining Force

A full-blown strategy RPG in a similar vein as Final Fantasy Tactics or Fire Emblem. Position your units on a strategic map and fight against opposing forces in a one-on-one, turn-based fashion. It's substantial, has good depth and wonderful presentation.

Dynamite Headdy

A side-scrolling platformer at times, but with a more top-down perspective thrown in in other segments. In fact we felt reminded of Legend Of The Mystical Ninja, with just some parts switched around and everything coated in high-gloss acrylic paint.

Drop Off

"Tetris reversed" crossed our mind as a summary, but it's probably more useful to evoke comparisons to Arkanoid or, if that fails, Puzzle Bobble with less colors. You try to break the hexagonal blocks that come down from the top of the screen by hitting them with a ball, in the ideal case breaking loose a whole wad of those blocks at once. When the ball bounces back and you fail to return it, you lose a life, so that's what's new compared to Puzzle Bobble.

Drop Off is interesting, but it isn't all that fun. There is far too little variation to the game.
Dynamite Headdy is such a crazy and colorful ride that it might almost be worth it for the presentation alone. The boss fights are great, but unfortunately the game is pretty inconsistent and some parts are full-on meh. A very average kind of average probably describes it best, and we already mentioned above which game could be used to replace it.

Shinobi III is one of the top-tier action games you can get for the VC right now, in the same league as Super Castlevania IV or Super Probotector (ignoring the guns). We very much recommend it. Quite substantial, too, varied, and decently challenging.
Shining Force is this week's true winner though, and it helps that tired old men rolling back and forth on couches can still play it successfully, thanks to its leisurely turn-based nature. Do get.


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