Retro Round-up For February 1


posted 2/1/2008 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
Platforms: Multiple
This Week in Defunct Games 46

Every week Cyril Lachel comes down from his giant castle in the hills to provide the final word on all of the classic downloadable games and retro compilations. This is the Retro Round-Up, your official guide to the best (and worst) in classic gaming for the Nintendo Virtual Console, Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. Join us as we shed some light on what games are worth your five or ten dollars, and what games you should avoid at all costs. For more information about these games (and retro gaming in general) we invite you to check out Defunct Games. This week we apologize for complaining about only getting two Virtual Console games. Because for whatever reason Nintendo has decided to cut the amount of games down to just one. That's right, we have one new Virtual Console game to talk about. It's so bad that we have to talk about a last-gen Xbox Live Arcade game to pad the article.

1080 Snowboarding
What Is It?
1080 Snowboarding was a realistic extreme sports game released at a time when most snowboarding games weren't worth their weight in plastic. While not officially connected to WaveRace 64, 1080 Snowboarding did to the snow what WaveRace did to the water. It gave us a compelling reason to climb up a mountain and hit the slopes for money and prizes. Ten years later 1080 Snowboarding is looking a little less majestic, but that isn't going to stop it from being one of the best sports games on the Virtual Console. The good news is that 1080 Snowboarding is still as much fun today as it was ten years ago, a real testament to the quality of the developers. This game takes a little while to get used to, but once you've figured everything out you're in for another fantastic Nintendo experience.

Does It Still Hold Up?
Despite the improvements to the genre (made mostly by EA's fantastic SSX series), 1080 Snowboarding holds up remarkably well. It's not as technically impressive as its sequel (1080 Avalanche), but that won't slow most gamers down one bit. The graphics are still pretty good, the controls are spot on and there's a lot to do in this $10 game. 1080 does suffer from a few technical setbacks, but then again most ten year old snowboarding games suffer from the same problem (don't even get me started on the Cool Boarders series).

Is It Worth The Money?
The sad truth is that there are better snowboarding games ... but not on the Wii. At the moment your choices are limited to this slightly out of date snowboarding game for the Nintendo 64, or the absolutely broken SSX Blur. Out of those two then the obvious choice is 1080 Snowboarding, but only because the other option is so hideous that it will scare young kids if you're not careful. The good news is that you can play the slightly better 1080 sequel for the GameCube on your Wii. But then again, if you're going to put a GameCube game in then why not just go all the way and put one of those SSX games in the drive? SSX is definitely better than 1080. If you have fond memories of 1080 and don't want to put a GameCube game in, then this is the game for you.

Rez HD
What Is It?
This is Rez, Tetsuya Mizuguchi's famed 3D shooter that was originally released on the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2. That's right; this game is only seven years old. The truth is that I'm not entirely sure we should be calling Rez a retro title, but seeing as it's a slow week and how I love talking about old Dreamcast games, I think we're going to make an exception for this trippy title. Rez is best described as the action game adaptation to that one time you dropped acid and went to a rave club. Basically you play the outline of a man who is flying around the screen shooting at various objects that will get in the way and hurt you. In other words, if you've played Panzer Dragoon then you've played this. What sets Rez apart from the other games is the style; it's more than just an acid trip of a game, it's also an artistic tour de force. Each level looks amazing, each with their own style and music. You see, that's the gimmick to Rez, it combines the music genre with the on-rail shooter genre. This is a quirky little shooter that may not be any everybody's radar, but at $10 there's no reason to avoid this masterpiece.

Does It Still Hold Up?
The reason you buy a game like Rez HD has nothing to do with how well the game plays. When it comes right down to it, the game's controls are completely immaterial for this type of game. The reason you buy Rez HD is to see this amazing artistic achievement recreated in glorious HD and 5.1 surround sound. And believe me, Rez is a sight to behold. Oh, and in case you care about this kind of thing, the controls feel just fine to me.

Is It Worth The Money?
Let's just get one thing out of the way; Rez is not as good as some would like you to believe. Don't get me wrong, I love the game (see my overly positive review of the Dreamcast game), but in the seven years since its release Rez has morphed from a solid action game to one of the best games of all time. This is not one of the best games of all time, but it is a game worth owning ... especially for a mere $10. Rez HD is a solid remake of a great game, complete with visuals that are still cool to look at, a fantastic soundtrack and enhanced HD polish. It would have been cool if Q Entertainment had gone back to add a few extra levels, but I'm sure that if this game does well we'll probably see new content in Rez 2.

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