ron, Nov-09 2007

Furry VC Friday

Another one of those Fridays just came rolling around, and thus Europe gets another set of Virtual Console games. Warm up your Wiis and kick your Shop Channels into gear (just make sure it's not the reverse). It's very worth it today.

Power Golf

Golf. Golf is always the same. You select the correct club depending on your current distance from the hole, correct the angle of the shot for wind, and then do a small reaction test to determine how hard and how precisely your on-screen dude hits the ball.
This particular TurboGrafx variant is presented purely in 2D and offers local multiplayer. It's also quite difficult for a golf game.

Super Mario Bros 3

The famous plumber returns in a third 2D NES platformer, getting rid of the big new twists of the (western) SMB2 (support characters, plucking things, riding enemies etc), and returning back to the same simple conquest of levels with optional challenges (and rewards) for expert players that made the first one so great. Actually that was a lie: the game isn't as simple as the first one, in fact it offers some non-linearity on its overworld map, and it has a number of new power-ups, among them the iconic racoon suit that bestows limited flight, but it captures the same spirit. If you really want to, you can rush through the levels with no care for secrets, coins, extra lives, but you will be missing out if you do and you'll always know it.

Blue's Journey

This is a 2D action platformer for the NeoGeo console. It seems to have taken cues from a lot of Mario and Adventure Island/Wonderboy games and combines the aesthetics and play mechanics of all of them (plus Jungle Hunt): your main character can switch between two different sizes, there are multiple weapons to use, there are little houses in the levels where you can buy helpful things, and there are secret caches of collectibles to be found if you duck into the ground in the correct places.
The game also has arcade roots, so it throws a lot of enemies and hazards at you at once to optimize its revenue-generating properties.

Blue's Journey is not a bad game, but it suffers from that certain overdose of difficulty, cheapness sometimes, that is so common for coin-op games. Another concern is that it throws practically every idea of every 2D platformer ever at you in the first level, and then just fizzles out on the creative side. An obvious explanation is that the game was built more for high initial appeal rather than an overall quality, which is again a common problem of coin-op games. So even though it's not broken or anything, you'd probably better skip it.
Power Golf is a sure skipper. Yes, it looks nice, but just think about it for a minute: you live in Europe and own a Wii. That means you already own Wii Sports which contains a better golf game, no matter if you want to play alone or in local multiplayer. The only reason to prefer Power Golf is if you are allergic to all forms of motion sensing controls, but be warned that Power Golf's own controls are amazingly hard to get down. Sadly, golf games are one of those types where the evolution of the genre over the years has produced games that are better in every single way, rendering the old stuff meaningless. It's not really Power Golf's fault.
Finally, Super Mario Bros 3 is one of those genre-defining classics that offer not a single angle of attack for criticism. It's a very rewarding game with great variety, lots of stuff to discover and controls of world-beating excellence. It's among the cream of NES games, and to this day among the cream of platformers across all systems.

Summary: Super Mario Bros 3. Do it.
Ignore the other two.


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