Retro Round-up for July 20th


posted 7/20/2007 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
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Balloon Fight (Virtual Console)

What Is It?
Think of Balloon Fight as a weird combination of helium and Joust. Unfortunately I hate Joust and I hear that huffing helium is hazardous to my health. Perhaps that's the reason I could never got into Balloon Fight, the long forgotten 8-bit Nintendo game from 1986. Then again, now that I've gone back and played Balloon Fight again (21 years later) I'm of the mind that this was never a very good game, not then and certainly not now. In Balloon Fight you play a kid who is flying over the surface trying to take down enemies with balloons. Beyond the fact that this plays almost exactly like Joust (which is certainly a knock against it in my book), Balloon Fight really doesn't make any sense. Wouldn't a dart gun be a more effective weapon to combat the evil balloon men? And why do I have to mash on the buttons to move my character up? You're using balloons; shouldn't you float without mashing the buttons? Like Soccer and Urban Champion before it, Balloon Fight is an early Nintendo title that deserves to be left in the past.
Does It Still Hold Up?
If you think Joust is still a lot of fun to play then there's a good chance you'll love this far more innocent rip-off. Balloon Fight is one of those games that sounds like it should be a lot of fun ... but it isn't. The problem with a game like this is that if you don't like the first stage you'll hate the rest of the game, since it's really just the first stage repeated ad nauseum. I'm sure there are people out there that will enjoy this kind of monotony, but it's hard to be real excited about a game like Balloon Fight.
Is It Worth the Money?
Have you ever met one of those Nintendo fans that feel like their favorite game maker can do no wrong? You know, the type of person who will cheer loudly even at the hint that Nintendo may have a new game. Well, if you're close to one of those raving lunatics then Balloon Fight is well worth picking up ... so you can show them that not everything Nintendo touches is golden. Then again, knowing most Nintendo fanboys they'll love it unconditionally. On second thought maybe you shouldn't pick it up after all.

Paper Mario (Virtual Console)

What Is It?
While it may not be as well known as Super Metroid or Super Mario Bros. 3, Paper Mario is one of those games Nintendo fans have been clamoring for on the Virtual Console. And here it is, the week after E3 wrapped up. Paper Mario is the pseudo-sequel to Super Mario RPG, a brilliant adventure game based in the surprisingly versatile world of Mario and Luigi. Paper Mario is a graphically innovative game that breaks from the confines of the RPG genre. Now slimmed down, everyone's favorite plumber flips, spins, jumps and hammers his way through scads of exotic worlds that teem with a huge and hugely entertaining supporting cast. Players control numerous old and new characters in a complex, nonlinear story that follows different scenarios depending on player choices. A dizzying collection of spells, attacks, skills and special items can be collected by players willing to thoroughly explore the lush 3D environments.
Does It Still Hold Up?
If Balloon Fight is an example of a Nintendo-released game that hasn't withstood the test of time, then Paper Mario is the perfect counter showing us how good one of their games can be. The original Paper Mario is as good as it ever was, thanks to its unique graphics, endearing story, and creative gameplay. In fact, I would go as far as to say that this original Paper Mario may actually be better than the recently released Super Paper Mario. Nintendo knows how to tell a timeless story, so even if you're completely new to the franchise this game will be instantly accessible and just as much fun now as it was a decade ago.
Is It Worth the Money?
Forget about any of the other Virtual Console games this week, Paper Mario is the only game you really need to buy. This is a rock solid adventure game that is full of life and entertaining puzzles. While some may complain that it's a bit too easy, the game's length more than makes up for this one minor shortcoming. Paper Mario is easily one of the best games of all time, which makes this $10 purchase even easier.
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