ron, Sep-28 2007

Expensive VC Friday

Welcome to this week's splurge of Virtual Console games, to be found the European Wii Shop Channel as we speak, or something, at least if we pretend we actually do, immersion and all.

Sin And Punishment

The unusual high price of 1200 points can buy you this intense, fully 3D rail shooter. There are timing elements thrown into the mix, there's some strategy with weaker lock-on shots vs more effective but more difficult free shots and even melee.

Legend Of Hero Tonma

In this TurboGrafx platformer, you can dispatch enemies either by upgradeable fireball or, in the other Super Mario Bros-ish way, by jumping on their heads. Some of the enemy designs are eerily similar, too. The unique twist is that it … doesn't have bricks to break with your head.

Gradius III

This Super NES installment in the venerable Gradius franchise of horizontal shmups brings back the hallmark "option" upgrade to multiply your entire arsenal, but adds more impressive boss fights, more environmental hazards to evade and more meaningful tradeoffs in the form of a pre-level choice of where your upgrade paths should lead you. It's still one of the more accessible shmups and allows reasonable progress to people with little prior exposure to the genre.
Flying still under the "Hanabi" banner of exaggerated money extraction, Gradius III's price is jacked up to 900 points, 100 too much.


Sin And Punishment is the most expensive VC game ever but buy it anyway. It's a mighty rush, it still looks nice thanks to its clever art direction and the gameplay is intense yet accessible. Do get!
If it weren't for Sin And Punishment blasting this week's priorities to the moon, Gradius III would be nothing to be sneezed at. Without much hassle, it replaces R-Type 3 as the definitive VC reference title for horizontal shmups. It's easier to get going, there's no such strong focus on evading stuff and memorizing what's going on in a level, and the presentation is ace. Very recommended, but sitting at priority slot two for this week.
Legend Of Tonma falls through the cracks. It is very nice to look at, but beyond its superficial qualities it's not just painfully obvious which game inspired this, it's also painfully obvious that it falls way short and feels all the worse for it. If you seek a platformer with hilarious comic action and good variety that isn't made by Nintendo, the Bonk franchise, with three games already released on the Virtual Console, is what you're looking for. Not this.

In other words: Sin And Punishment Sin And Punishment Sin And Punishment Sin And Punishment maybe Gradius III.

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