Retro Round-up for March 27


posted 3/27/2009 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: Multiple
Mappy (Virtual Console/500 Points)
What Is It?
Cat haters unite, because Mappy is here. Taking after Mighty Mouse and Danger Mouse, Mappy is a crime fighting mouse that runs through the house trying to collect stolen items. Along the way he'll have to deal with a bunch of different cats (mewkies) and big bosses. The gameplay is simple enough, it's basically side-scrolling maze game, where you run from floor to floor opening doors, dodging cats and picking up the stolen stash. This is one of Namco's most popular arcade games, so it shouldn't surprise anybody to see the company to lead with this game. Still, Mappy's antics aren't for everybody and the gameplay can get a little repetitive.

Does It Still Hold Up?
The gameplay is a little stiff and the ultimate goal gets old quickly. There is fun to be had in Mappy, but I found myself getting bored after only a few levels.

Is It Worth the Money?
Remember how I just said that Gaplus was also on the terrible Namco Museum Remix? Well, so is Mappy. Unfortunately Mappy isn't nearly as good as Gaplus, so it's hard for me to wholeheartedly recommend this arcade release. That's not to say that you won't have some fun with it, but the repetitive platforming gameplay gets old quick and competing for high score isn't as much fun in this type of game. It's also worth noting that unlike Gaplus, Mappy has been on every Namco collection under the sun, so it shouldn't be hard to find this game for cheaper elsewhere.


Star Force (Virtual Console/500 Points)
What Is It?
Star Force is, that's right, yet another overhead 2D shooter. That makes this the third 2D shooter I've talked about in five games. Talk about overkill. Look, I have nothing against 2D shooters, but I can think of a few other classic arcade games you could upload to the Virtual Console to add some much needed variety. For example, where's Strider? Or what about Toy Pop? Heck, I would settle for a horizontal shooter. But alas, Star Force is yet another 1980s overhead shooter. As vertical shooters go, this one is pretty standard. The game features two levels of power-ups and a bunch of been-there/done-that levels. It's not a bad game, but with so many other vertical shooters hogging the light this week, it's hard for Star Force to set itself apart from the crowd.

Does It Still Hold Up?

The gameplay is extremely simple and you've seen all of these levels before. Then again, the gameplay is solid and there's a reason why the levels are familiar, they are mainstays of the genre. My gut tells me that the game does not hold up, while my mind says it does. It's really very confusing.

Is It Worth the Money?
While I have fond memories of Star Force, this shooter just isn't on the same level as Gaplus or TwinBee. I do like the price point; I think that $5 is reasonable for this type of game. There are a lot of good thrills in this download, but not enough for me to recommend it.

Star Force

The Tower of Druaga (Virtual Console/500 Points)
What Is It?
When it comes to the Virtual Console Arcade, most of the titles so far have been extremely predictable. I can certainly understand Mappy and Gaplus, and even Star Force makes sense ... but The Tower of Druaga? This forgotten gem plays similar to Gauntlet and other early dungeon crawlers. You play a hero who has to fight his way through a 60 story tower. Needless to say, that's a lot of walking. To do this he will need to navigate mazes to collect keys, all while battling bad guys and not getting lost. Interestingly enough, The Tower of Druaga isn't as rare as you might think. You can find the game on a lot of Namco collections, including ones for the Xbox 360 and Nintendo DS. The Tower of Druaga's overhead gameplay and maze levels sets this game apart from the rest, and, if you don't get tired of going through maze after maze, proves to be one of the better Arcade titles. It's not for everybody, but The Tower of Druaga is definitely a fun maze game.

Does It Still Hold Up?
The hacking and slashing portions of the game have been done better in newer games, but outside of that I would say that this game holds up remarkably well. The graphics are simplistic and there isn't much to the gameplay, but it is still fun in short doses.

Is It Worth the Money?

The price is right for this often ignored classic. The Tower of Druaga works as both a good action game and a fun mind game, since you're constantly forcing yourself to remember the path you took. My one complaint is that they chose to upload this version instead of the superior TurboGrafx-16 port. If you can get over that, you'll find that this is a solid maze game with a whole bunch of levels. This one is definitely worth your $5.


This Week in Xbox Live Arcade

Now that you've had your fill of the Virtual Console, maybe it's time to check out This Week in Xbox Live Arcade. This is the part of our show where we take a look at the brand new Xbox Live Arcade titles, and then review them using our unique POINT/COUNTERPOINT style. In these reviews I will make a solid point about a game, and then I will argue the other side just to confuse everything. What do I really think about this week's Xbox Live Arcade game? I guess you'll never know. Instead you get what has to be the single least useful review ever posted on this website. This week we have Uno Rush, the "sequel" to 2006's breakout hit, Uno.

Uno Rush (Xbox Live Arcade/800 Microsoft Points)
POINT: Boy do I love Uno. Over the last couple of years I must have put thousands of hours into that little game, loving every second of it. And it was cheap. Boy was it cheap. The five dollar asking price was perfect. It really was a must-own game for the Xbox Live Arcade, and it is still one of the best deals out there. That's why I'm so excited about Uno Rush, the "sequel" that tries to capitalize on the original's success. For the most part it's outstanding, offering fast gameplay and a few gameplay tweaks you don't get in the original Uno. If you love card games, then you can't ignore Uno Rush.

COUNTERPOINT: Wait a second ... ten bucks for Uno Rush? If anything this should have been a cheapy expansion pack you download for the original $5 Uno. The original game was successful because it managed to combine the fun of Uno with a price point that people couldn't resist. But not this game. This game thinks that it's good enough to be twice the price of the original, no doubt playing off of the first game's success. They think they can raise the price just because the first game was so successful? Well, I say no. Don't buy Uno Rush. This should have been a downloadable extra, not a $10 title.

Uno Rush

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