Extended VC Friday
Who knocks at this late hour and ask for whatever new Virtual Console games have been released on the European Wii Shop Channel this Friday? Haven't you already seen them? Is that a bucket full of straw?
Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
The Castlevania base formula of mild platforming, whip-swinging and vampire-confronting gets the Zelda 2 treatmen, kind of. This NES sequel is much less linear than the first Castlevania, it incorporate towns with people to talk to and a proper economy, and endlessly respawning enemies to farm money and purchase upgrades and new secondary weapons. Another addition is the day/night cycle: at night the towns are haunted by the undead, just like the rest of the world, so your shopping trips should be scheduled for daytime.
Gate Of Thunder
Yet another horizontal shmup for the TurboGrafx. This one flies the banner of the spaceships-vs-monsters
group, offers three separate weapon classes with lots of firepower when fully upgraded and is
well playable on reflex alone, without
memorization. No bullet hell as far as we can tell. There is some stuff involving moving level parts,
but you'll have enough of a warning to react. It does have selectable difficulty though, so you can
always rack it up if you're a well versed bullet-dodger.
This game costs 800 points, which is 200 points more than the usual TurboGrafx rate. We have no idea why
A one-on-one fighting game for the NeoGeo with a full-fledged combat system involving punches, kicks, throws, blocking, ranged attacks, aerial attacks and character-specific specials. Yes, it's very similar to Street Fighter II, but it does offer its own twists. Most prominently, you can charge your attacks.
Gate Of Thunder is pretty rad. There really hasn't been a shortage of good shmups on the Virtual Console,
but if you require another one, this one will serve you very well. It's pretty accessible too, thanks to
its moderate difficulty and low reliance on memorization, so it will even work as an entrance to the genre.
World Heroes is yet another fighter that might have trouble escaping the "Street Fighter 2 clone" stigma, but it really is worth giving a shot. It does have its own extensions to the play mechanics, and it's very well balanced. It's best if you have a buddy to compete with, as usual, and do look elsewhere if you want a substantial single-player experience.
Castlevania 2, lastly, is best avoided. The game frequently expects you to hit random tiles with your whip or otherwise to uncover secrets. That would be fair enough for optional stuff, but the things you will find this way in Castlevania 2 are far too important to your progress. There are some other problems as well, the most glaring of which is the horrible writing (or is it the translation?). Bah. It's moody, the music is nice, the graphics get the job done, but too many things went wrong with the gameplay. Stay away.
Summary: good week for fighting nuts and friends of the shmup. Disappointing week for vampire hunters.