Retro Round-up for March 27


posted 3/27/2009 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.

Remember all those weeks when I only had one or two games to review? Well, those days are long gone (at least this week). We started out the week strong with two solid Virtual Console games, and then by Wednesday Nintendo had announced another FOUR Virtual Console games. And not just any Virtual Console games, but the first four arcade games. Talk about a surprise. But the real question is, how good are these six Virtual Console releases? Find out now when you read a super-sized version of the Retro Round-Up!

Bomberman '94 (Virtual Console/700 Points)
What Is It?
Bomberman '94 was one of Hudson's final games on the TurboDuo, and easily one of the best Bomberman games ever assembled. In fact, some are willing to go as far as to say that this is the best Bomberman game ever, if not one of the greatest games of all time. I come down somewhere in the middle. This is definitely a great retelling of the Bomberman formula, but at the same time it adds a few gimmicks that I'm not a huge fan of. For one thing, the game adds dinosaurs, which, in my opinion, don't add enough to the already fun gameplay. The good news is that we get a bunch of fun worlds to play through, including a prehistoric world, a horror-themed world and the mandatory ice world. It gives us five-player action, a bunch of cool multiplayer options and all sorts of good, traditional Bomberman action.

Does It Still Hold Up?
Without a doubt. Bomberman '94 is definitely one of the best Bomberman games, and the birth place of the modern "white" design. You will probably notice a few options that don't make a lot of sense in this 21st century world we find ourselves in, but Bomberman '94 still holds up surprisingly well.

Is It Worth the Money?
If you already own Bomberman '93 on the Virtual Console then you may want to think twice about throwing down another $7. However, even then, I say go for it. It's been a couple of years since Bomberman '93 hit the console (contrary to its misleading name), so it won't be like you're buying one game right after the other. Plus, it definitely has a lot of new gameplay tweaks and options to play around with. If you have a bunch of friends and love Bomberman, then this updated version is a no-brainer.


Detana!! TwinBee (Virtual Console/700 Points)
What Is It?

While we all know and love Gradius, American gamers aren't nearly as well versed in Konami's other big 2D shooter franchises. For example, how many people can name one of the Salamander sequels? And is TwinBee a horizontal or vertical game? Well, it's a vertical game, and a damn good one at that. Detana!! TwinBee (yes, that's how it's spelled) is a whimsical shooter, full of colorful graphics and fun music. This PC Engine import is fun and full of energy, even if we've been here before in many other Virtual Console shooters. The real difference in this game is the audio, which, at the time, was a considerable improvement over the previous TwinBee games. Unfortunately that's not much of a selling point 18 years later, but that was the big push for the game back in 1991.

Does It Still Hold Up?
The gameplay is fine. The graphics are fine. The levels are fine. But the music ... well, let's just pit it this way, it's hard to believe that this music was such a big deal two decades ago. It's not that the audio is bad, it's just not the reason I would have bought this game.

Is It Worth the Money?
Assuming you're not tired of the endless stream of 2D shooters, Detana!! TwinBee is a fantastic game you likely haven't played before. The gameplay is good and the graphics are colorful and fun, but the real joy is in its light-hearted sense of humor. Unfortunately this is not the best version of the game available. Fans of Konami shooters should be on the lookout for the import TwinBee compilation. There you will find an arcade-perfect port, along with slew of other must-own games.


Gaplus (Virtual Console/500 Points)
What Is It?
Talk about trying to confuse the market, at one point in our history Gaplus was known as two different names in the U.S. When it was first released it was known as Gaplus, but then later Namco released it as Galaga 3. And now here it is on the Virtual Console Arcade, simply known as Gaplus. They could have easily resolved this problem by calling it Galaga 3: Gaplus (or the inverted - Gaplus: Galaga 3). But no, Namco had to confuse everybody. Well, I'm not confused about this wondeful 2D shooter. Previously released in Namco's horrible Wii compilation, Namco Museum Remix, Gaplus proved that adding a dash of speed can really improve an old classic shooter. This is, without a doubt, one of the greatest 2D shooters ever made, and you should play it if only to see where modern shooters come from.

Does It Still Hold Up?
It may not have amazing detailed backgrounds or varied power-ups, but it is fast and a lot of fun. The controls feel right and it's nice to finally see real arcade games hit the Virtual Console (and not just those lame NES ports). The game does hold up, though just barely.

Is It Worth the Money?
When it comes right down to it the better deal is the Namco Museum Remix, which you can find for $20 these days. However, most of the games on that compilation aren't worth the money, and the 3D versions of the game are so bad that it undermines the whole disc. So, I say, buy the best game out of that collection on the Virtual Console Arcade for just a few bucks. Even if you're not a huge fan of classic shooters, Gaplus will be the one that changes your mind.

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