Retro Round-up for April 17

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posted 4/17/2009 by Cyril Lachel
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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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