Retro Round-up for August 15th

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posted 8/15/2008 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. It has taken us a full week to digest and get over the deception of last week. But don't worry; we're back on track ... even if it means that we don't get to talk about Mega Man and Samurai Shodown II. This week would have been the perfect time for Nintendo to capitalize on the Bionic Commando Rearmed madness by releasing the original 8-bit NES game, but instead they chose to give us two TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine games. But don't worry Radd Spencer fans; we'll get around to talking about Bionic Commando towards the end of this episode. Throw in a little American McGee's Grimm and you have a pretty solid episode of This Week in Defunct Games!

Break In
What Is It?
Now here's a game that sounded like a lot of fun. Could this be the long-lost TurboGrafx break dancing game? Of course not, because that would make too much sense. Okay, then is it a game where you're robbing a bank? Nope, it's not even that cool. So what is it? It's ... a billiards simulator? Well, at least it's hitting a niche that you normally don't see on the Virtual Console, right? What's that, it's not even the first pool game on the Virtual Console? Oh, that's right, I completely forgot about Lunar Pool, a much more original game of billiards. Instead of being creative or interesting, Break In is your basic pool simulator, complete with six different types of pool. While the physics are a little weird and the game isn't always easy to control, there is a nice variety and it's fun to play with friends. Break In isn't as cool as the name implies, but it's not as bad as it could have been.


Does It Still Hold Up?
The controls are a little wonky, especially when it comes to making pixel perfect shots. Worse yet, the ball physics are all over the place. The good news is that after a few games you can start to predict the game's shortcomings. But seriously, should we have to be able to do that? Couldn't Nintendo just upload a better playing game of pool?

Is It Worth Playing?
If you're hard up for a pool simulator with questionable physics, then maybe you should head on over to one of the free pool simulators found on the web. I'll be honest with you, I had a lot of fun playing this game with a friend, but you can have just as much fun playing this game for free elsewhere. I also can't recommend this for the simple fact that there are better 8- and 16-bit pool games. I'm not sure those games are on the way, but assuming they are you would hate to spend the money on this mediocre release. It may only be a few bucks, but it's definitely not worth it.


Star Parodier

What Is It?
Think there are too many shooters on the Virtual Console? Well, maybe you're right, but don't tell that to Star Parodier, one of the wackiest shooters I have ever played. What's more, this is the first Virtual Console game I've recommended in what seems like months (maybe not months,but it has been three weeks). Up until now Star Parodier for the TurboDuo was only available in Japan, so chances are even the most hardcore Turbo fan probably missed this gem. It's by the same people that developed the Star Soldier series; only instead of being deathly serious it's actually a parody. Basically this is Hudson Soft's attempt at Konami's amazing Parodius franchise. That sounds bad, but what Hudson was able to do with this game is so, so good. Every single level is full of new and interesting things, from Bomberman boss fights to killer geese to flying underwater). And just when you think the game has gone as far as it can, it turns around and shows you something you never thought possible. It's not the most original game, but it's definitely one of the most original shooters available for the Virtual Console.


Does It Still Hold Up?
It's a shooter; you either love them or hate them. The good news is that this is a crazy shooter with new graphics, weapons, enemies and surprises around every corner. The gameplay is fast and exciting, and you'll keep playing (no matter how many times you die) just to see all of the weird levels and enemies. This is a strange game that a lot of people are going to discover for the very first time.

Is It Worth Playing?
Remember how I've been telling you not to buy terrible games and save your money for something better? Well, that something better just showed up. This may not be the deepest shooter out there, but it sure is the most entertaining one I've seen in a while. It's also really funny. Well, not REALLY funny, but it is super silly. A lot of the charm comes from recognizing elements from Hudson's other games, a number of them already available on the Virtual Console. Best of all, this $9 game hasn't been available in the U.S. until now, so Turbo fans should be doing everything in their power to fit this game in their refrigerator ... er, I mean, hard drive.
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