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 have an interesting selection for you, including two Virtual Console games that are just now making it to the United States ... way to be late to the party, guys. Up first we have DoReMi Fantasy, the sequel to Milon's Secret Castle. After we're done with that decide if there are too many Puyo Puyo games on the Virtual Console (here's a hint: there are). And we round out the week like we always do, with a batch of free retro games on the GameTap service. It's an interesting week, so why not sit back and get ready for another exciting installment of Retro Round-Up?
DoReMi Fantasy: Milon's DokiDoki Adventure
What Is It?
Contrary to popular opinion, I have not played every retro game. Now don't get me wrong, I've played almost all of the classic Super NES, Genesis and 8-bit NES games, but there is a whole world of obscure foreign games that I have never been able to get my hands on (for some obvious reasons). DoReMi Fantasy: Milon's DokiDoki Adventure is one of those games that I had never even heard of until this week. That actually surprises me a little bit, since this is the sequel to Milon's Secret Castle (<a href="http://www.defunctgames.com/shows.php?id=twidg-13" target="blank_"><b>which I reviewed June of last year</b></a>). While I wasn't a big fan of the original Milon game, I was intrigued to see how different this 16-bit sequel was. Despite the name, Milon's DokiDoki Adventure has almost nothing to do with the original game (outside of the fact that both games feature short little characters in pajamas), which is a good thing since the original game was something of a mess. This is a traditional 2D platformer, similar to something like Super Mario World or Sonic the Hedgehog. But it's more than that, DoReMi also features a few interesting touches, such as an inventory screen and "vehicles" you can jump into. Don't get me wrong, this isn't the kind of game that is going to make you completely forget about Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but it is an exciting action game that you've probably never played (or even heard of) before. That reminds me, with the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl I'm actually a little surprised we didn't see the original Nintendo 64 Smash Bros. on the Virtual Console. Then again, this isn't a review of Super Smash Bros., so maybe it's best we keep with the topic and actually talk about Do Re Mi Fantasy.
Does It Still Hold Up?
In a lot of ways DoReMi Fantasy still feels pretty good. There isn't nearly the same amount of depth that Super Mario World offers, but there's quite a bit to do and the graphics are top notch. The best part of this game is how much it improves on the original game, which was broken from beginning to end. Good graphics and solid gameplay is all you can ask for from a 12 year old 2D platformer, so as far as I'm concerned this game definitely holds up.
Is It Worth the Money?
Nine dollars is a bit much to pay for a 2D platformer, but chances are you've never actually had a chance to sit down with this game before, so maybe in the end it's worth it. I would gladly pay close to ten dollars for a brand new experience, especially for a game that is this much fun. The game isn't the longest thing you've ever seen, but chances are you'll go back to it more than once looking for the secret areas. If you've been waiting for a brand new Mario-style platformer, why not give DoReMi a day in court?
Puyo Puyo 2: Tsuu
What Is It?
Oh, you have to be kidding me! This is yet another Puyo Puyo game on the Virtual Console. If you're counting, this is the third Puyo Puyo game currently available on Nintendo's new console, exactly two more than we need. When the first Puyo Puyo game, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, debuted I was ecstatic, I proudly proclaimed that it was a puzzler that everybody should own. My excitement was a bit more muted when it came to the second Puyo Puyo game, Kirby's Avalanche. Sure it looked a little better than Mean Bean Machine, but at its core it was exactly the same game we played. And now there's Puyo Puyo 2, the first non-licensed version of the puzzler to pop up on the Virtual Console. But do we really need another Puyo Puyo game? Not at all. Sure the original game is fantastic, but this "sequel" adds almost nothing to the formula. Not that this should come as a surprise, puzzle game sequels rarely add anything new and always come off as nothing more than a lame cash-in. And since this game never made it to the U.S., Nintendo has the balls to charge you an extra dollar. You can just add that to the ever-growing list of reasons why you should avoid buying this puzzle game. Don't get me wrong, everybody should own at least one version of Puyo Puyo ... but there's no reason to buy this one when there are cheaper, better versions of the game currently available.
Does It Still Hold Up?
Of course Puyo Puyo 2 holds up ... it's Puyo Puyo, a game that is hard to get sick of. But don't let that cloud your judgment, because you probably already own this game in one form or another. And even if you don't, you're better off buying one of the other versions. Regardless of the fact that this game has technically already come out twice before, Puyo Puyo 2 is still a solid puzzler that holds up surprisingly well.
Is It Worth the Money?
No. If you're in the market for a Puyo Puyo game then you should do yourself a favor and pick up one of the other two games, they are exactly the same and cheaper. With all of the unreleased import games currently waiting to be uploaded, it's ridiculous for Nintendo to try and pass off the same game three times. The good news is that these repetitious releases give me the opportunity to tell people to go and buy this underappreciated puzzle game, it's every bit as good as the other puzzlers on the console (if not better). I would love to recommend this one, but at this point I'm done telling people to buy new versions of Puyo Puyo games. Sorry Nintendo but you're going to have to do better than this.
This Week in Defunct Games
Every week I plan on taking a look at the classic games being uploaded on the GameTap
service. Regardless of whether it's part of their free or premium service, GameTap
offers a wide variety of old school games that is worth checking out. Here are the most recent games uploaded to their server, keep in mind that all of these games are free to play unless otherwise stated:
SNK's original Fatal Fury is a disaster. While there are a lot of people who claim to love this Neo Geo title, I simply can't get past the terrible controls and unresponsive special moves. It's also annoying that you only get to play the game with three characters, none of which are very interesting. I'm sorry guys, but the original Fatal Fury is one of the most overrated 2D fighters of all time.
While everybody remembers Capcom classics like 1941 and U.N. Squadron, Vulgus is one of those games that seems to get swept aside. This vertical shoot-em-up from 1984 is in the same tradition as other Capcom classics, such as 1941 and Gun Smoke. Even if you haven't played this game before chances are good you're familiar with the set-up, you control a spaceship with a single objective: destroy incoming enemies. And guess what, you are stocked with a standard weapon that never runs out of bullets (handy) and a bomb that you can use only so many times. Sure you've heard it all before, Vuglus manages to hit on just about every shooter cliche. But in 1984 these elements weren't cliche; they were just part of playing a 2D shooter. Despite the fact that we've seen all this before, Vulgus is still a lot of fun for awhile. It's nowhere near as good as some of Capcom's later shooters, but still worth checking out.
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