Retro Round-up for April 17

Retro Round-up for April 17

Written by Cyril Lachel on 4/17/2009 for

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 are out with the old and in with the new. We have a very special announcement regarding the future of GameTap and DSiWare that you won't want to miss, plus a review of Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure for the Genesis. And if that wasn't enough, we also take an inconclusive look at the newest OutRun "sequel". All this and more when you read another exciting episode the Retro Round-Up!

Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure (Virtual Console/Activision/$8)
What Is It?
Released a dozen years after the original, this fourth Pitfall installment wasn't nearly as influential as its predecessors. But what it lacks in innovation it more than makes up for in creative level designs, fantastic animation and, most importantly, length. This criminally ignored fourth game in the Pitfall franchise has you playing the role of Pitfall Harry Jr., son of the original game's protagonist. Apparently Junior is dead set on reliving his father's adventures, so he gets himself stuck in a very familiar situation. He'll have to dodge snakes, jump over lakes of quicksand and make his way through the jungles if he wants to live to tell the tale of this adventure. For whatever reason Activision (or Nintendo, I'm not sure which) decided to upload the Sega Genesis version of Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure. While I hate to nitpick, but I would have preferred either the Super NES or Sega 32X version of the game. Either way, this is still a fun action game that manages to remind gamers of the original Pitfall, all while offering a brand new experience.

Does It Still Hold Up?
The first thing you'll notice is how good the graphics are. This is a 2D platformer released at a time when everybody knew how to get the most out of the hardware. The animation is unbelievable from beginning to end, and the game is long enough to keep you going for several hours. Even the controls (which haven't always been precise in this franchise) are spot-on this time around. Unless you absolutely hate 2D platformers, I would say that this game definitely holds up.

Is It Worth The Money?
Eight dollars may seem a bit steep for this traditional 2D platformer, but the game is long enough to warrant the price. What's more, it's a fantastic sequel that celebrates everything that was good about the 1982 original. I would have preferred the Super NES or Sega 32X version, but I'm not going to complain about playing through one of Activision's very best 2D games. Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure is definitely worth playing.

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168 Words About Party Fun Pirate
Usually when we talk about the WiiWare channel we do it by writing a limerick. Okay, but "usually" I mean that this is what we did last week and I fully expect to do it in the future. However, this week is different. This week's WiiWare release, Party Fun Pirate, is one of those games that requires more than a short limerick. It requires exactly 168 words. We'll get back to the WiiWare limericks next week, but for now I have 168 words to say about Party Fun Pirate!

Party Fun Pirate (TOMY/$5)
Everybody loves a pirate. At least, that's the rule of thumb. Like ninjas, putting a pirate in a game will immediately make your game cool. But here's a question: What is the one time when everybody hates pirates? Right after a week-long standoff between real-life pirates and an American boat captain, that's when. But that didn't stop Nintendo from uploading Party Fun Pirate to the WiiWare service. When I first got the email I was shocked, I figured that this had to be a joke. But it's not. And on the same day the real-life pirates vocally waged war on American boats and their crews, Nintendo uploaded this pirate-themed game. Really? And so, by uploading this game to the WiiWare channel, Nintendo has unfortunately linked this cute and cuddly game with a group of real-life boat terrorists who use rocket propelled grenades and seem to have an unlimited amount of recruits. What's next, a WiiWare game about flooding the next time a hurricane blows through a coastal town?

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The Great DSiWare Haiku
Before we dig into this week's DSiWare offerings, I would like to make a sad announcement. As regular readers have likely noticed, the GameTap haikus are nowhere to be found. From the looks of it GameTap has stopped their weekly updates and are rearranging their whole service. Because of their inconsistent schedule, I have decided to drop GameTap from this weekly feature. But don't worry haiku fans, because we're doing away with the DSiWare metaphors and bringing in the DSiWare haikus. So, starting this week, expect to see at least one or two brand new haikus every week. This week's offerings include a magic game and a 21-person (!) party game.

Master of Illusion Express: Shuffle Games (Nintendo/$2)
It is NOT a trick.
That's something a hooker does.
For money ... or drugs.

Mixed Messages (Activision/$5)
Sketch me a picture.
Anything you want to draw.
OH GROSS!! You pervert!

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The Argument Over Xbox Live Arcade
Now that you've had your fill of the Virtual Console, maybe it's time to check out This Week in Xbox Live Arcade. This is the part of our show where we take a look at the brand new Xbox Live Arcade titles, and then review them using our unique POINT/COUNTERPOINT style. In these reviews I will make a solid point about a game, and then I will argue the other side just to confuse everything. What do I really think about this week's Xbox Live Arcade game? I guess you'll never know. Instead you get what has to be the single least useful review ever posted on this website. This week we take a look at Sega's reboot of their classic arcade racer. Join us as we take an inconclusive look at OutRun Online Arcade for the Xbox Live Arcade (and PlayStation Network).

OutRun Online Arcade (Sega/800 Points)
Point:
OutRun is one of the greatest racing games of all time and I fell in love with the PSP sequel that was release a few years ago. OutRun Online Arcades takes all of the good stuff from Xbox sequel and adds online head-to-head action. Best of all, it's only $10. The price gets you all 15 "courses" and even a few extras. There is no good reason not to support Sega by buying one of their best retro updates in years.

Counterpoint:

Are you kidding me, $10 for what amounts to being a six year old game that you can easily buy for the original Xbox? Hell, the Xbox version even runs on the Xbox 360. Give me a break. Given the game's age, OutRun Online Arcade should have been half the price, or at least come with all of the extras found in Coast to Coast. I still love OutRun, but this is a rip-off.

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* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.

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About Author

It's questionable how accurate this is, but this is all that's known about Cyril Lachel: A struggling writer by trade, Cyril has been living off a diet of bad games, and a highly suspect amount of propaganda. Highly cynical, Cyril has taken to question what companies say and do, falling ever further into a form of delusional madness. With the help of quality games, and some greener pastures on the horizon, this back-to-basics newsman has returned to provide news so early in the morning that only insomniacs are awake.
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