Retro Round-up for June 13th

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posted 6/13/2008 by Cyril Lachel
other articles 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 Nintendo has listened to my complaints and have uploaded two games to the Virtual Console. While that may not sound like much, both of these games have never been released in the U.S. before now. First up we get Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa, the crazy 2D platformer starring a baby. If that's too out there for you, then maybe you will prefer the more traditional Dig Dug. To cap off this week GameTap has given us a lot to talk about. Not only have they finally made Burger Time free for everybody, but they have also uploaded two amazing Earthworm Jim games (and one that sucks). Find out where I come down on all of these games when you check out this week's exciting episode of Retro Round-Up!

Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (Virtual Console)
What Is It?
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play a Super Mario Bros. game where our hero is actually a newborn baby? No, not like Yoshi's Island: Super Mario World 2. I'm talking about a real 2D platformer where you aren't controlling some stupid (albeit adorable) dinosaur. Of course you haven't, because that idea is super lame. Or is it? Turns out that the idea isn't so bad after all. Let me introduce you to Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa, a quirky little game from Konami. In this game you play a little baby with, you guessed it, a magical rattle that transforms all of his enemies into big parade balloons. There's a stupid story about how you're the son of a very respected warrior, but when it comes right down to it you're basically playing a Mario-style action game with a baby. But you know, this idea actually worked on me. There's just something weird and original about this kind of game. The big reason this game works is because of the magical rattle, which makes your enemies float and allows you to climb to normally unreachable locations. This is an intriguing gameplay gimmick that is used throughout the game. Word on the street is that this game was originally set to come to the U.S., however former Nintendo President Howard Philips decided that it wasn't good enough for the American market. Oh how wrong he was.


Does It Still Hold Up?
First and foremost, you aren't going to gain any friends while playing this game. If you were ever thinking about joining a gang and proving that you are indeed tough enough, then you should just skip past this game and pretend we never spoke. However, if you don't mind playing a game about a newborn baby then you'll be happy to know that this game has held up remarkably well. Don't get me wrong, it's not as good as Super Mario Bros. or other popular 2D platformers, but it's a unique concept that ends up paying off. It's a little shallow, but for $6 you'll live.

Is It Worth the Money?
By now you've probably played all of the best 2D platformers, from Super Mario Bros. 3 to Sonic the Hedgehog to Rocket Knight Adventures, but I doubt you've seen this before. This isn't quite at the same level as those platformers I just mentioned, but its unique enough warrant a closer look. The baby aspect of the game isn't for everybody, so consider yourself warned.


Dig Dug (Virtual Console)
What Is It?
Did you know that Dig Dug was never released on the 8-bit NES in the U.S.? It's true, the first taste of Dig Dug action most console gamers got was the dreadfully dull sequel, Dig Dug II. Well Dig Dug fans (Dig Duggers?) your long wait is over, because this week Nintendo has decided to upload the crazy Japanese version of Dig Dug for the Virtual Console. Okay, maybe it's not all that crazy, but it's still nice to see this foreign Dig Dug ported to an American console. Dig Dug is a game built around digging deep into the earth and using your air pump to, well, pump up enemies. That's it. You pretty much go from world to world digging and pumping, trying your hardest to get a high score. This Virtual Console version does manage to recreate the original arcade game; even if that means that there are no frills or extras. Dig Dug is still a fun game, but is this the best version you can get?

Does It Still Hold Up?
Who would have thought that digging in the dirt and blowing up monsters would be fun? Actually, on second thought, digging in the dirt and blowing up monsters sounds like a LOT of fun. The good news is that the control is pretty good and the graphics aren't bad, so playing this port won't be an overly painful experience. The gameplay is a bit shallow, but not so much that it would affect your enjoyment.

Is It Worth the Money?
Look, Dig Dug is still exactly the same as you remember it. The only thing this version is going to do is bring back good memories of playing Dig Dug on a tabletop machine at a pizza joint. But that alone isn't worth six dollars. The big problem with this game is that there are better, cheaper versions of Dig Dug already on the market. Why pay six bucks when you could pick up the Xbox Live Arcade version for five? And the Xbox Live Arcade version actually comes with online leaderboards and a whole host of other improvements. Dig Dug isn't a terrible game or anything, but it's probably not worth the premium price.
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