Retro Round-up for November 9

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posted 11/9/2007 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 we talk about one of the greatest games of all time ... as well as a few other games that are pretty damn cool in their own right. This is the week that brings us Super Mario Bros. 3, Alien Soldier, Virtua Fighter, Root Beer Tapper and Power Golf. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. So quit reading this lame intro and scroll down to see which retro games are worth your money, and which you should be avoiding ...

Alien Soldier
What Is It?

Only released in Europe and Asia, Alien Storm is one of those Treasure games that American gamers have been clamoring for. For most old school gamers the very mention of Treasure is enough of a reason to buy the game; after all, this is a company that has consistently developed amazing games (Gunstar Heroes, Dynamite Headdy, Guardian Heroes, Ikaruga, etc.). But the fact that this is one Treasure game that most of the North American Wii owners have yet to play is just the icing on the cake. Alien Soldier plays a lot like Gunstar Heroes, which is to say that it plays a lot like Contra. You control this weird creature that can choose between four weapons at a time and can hover and float on the ceiling. But what sets Alien Soldier apart from most Contra clones is that the levels are extremely short. But just because the levels are short doesn't mean you won't get to fight a lot of bosses. Like all Treasure games, Alien Soldier is all about the boss battles, which run the gamut from being silly retreads of other Treasure games to being absolutely stunning. While not as good as other Treasure games, Alien Soldier is a must-buy for anybody that likes a good 2D action game.

Does It Still Hold Up?
There are definitely things about Alien Soldier that I would change if I had the chance (like how you change weapons), but overall this is one game that holds up well over time. The real reason you play a Treasure game is to see all of the crazy bosses, and you definitely won't be let down by the amount of big baddies that are out to ruin your day.

Is It Worth The Money?
Considering that this is one of those games that was never released in the U.S., I would say that $8 is not too much to pay. While the levels are short, there is a lot of action to be found in this little game. If you're a fan of 2D shooters like Contra and Gunstar Heroes then this should definitely be at the top of your list this week. It's not the best game released this week ... but it's the best game you've probably never played before.

Alien Soldier


Power Golf

What Is It?
Crimeny, just how many old school golf games does one console need? If I had a time machine and could go back to any moment in time I would go back to the 1980s (and early 1990s) and beg and plead with these video game companies that you shouldn't make a realistic sports game until the hardware can handle it. Well, okay, I would probably do that after I got done petting dinosaurs, figuring out who really shot JFK and deciding whether or not Cleopatra was all that. But I digress; Power Golf is yet another example of a realistic sports game that doesn't hold up particularly well. Part of the problem is that the system just isn't capable of doing what they programmers wanted, but it's also due to the fact that nobody knew how to recreate golf without it being as boring as watching C-SPAN with the sound turned off (or on, for that matter). Power Golf plays pretty much like every other golf game of the era, which is to say that you have to have your timing down and expect to be limited to only a couple of courses (all of which look exactly the same). The game does look slightly better than some of the 8-bit golf games of that time, but that won't change the overall gameplay much. Worse yet, I would almost argue that the cartoony golf games (like, say, NES Open Golf) hold up better because they aren't trying to look and feel like what you see on TV.

Does It Still Hold Up?
I guess I've already answered the question, but for the people that skip over the first paragraph in order to read the shorter (and more interesting) second and third questions, Power Golf definitely does not hold up well. That's not to say that it's a bad game, but it doesn't do anything different from the countless other golf games on the Virtual Console. Worse yet, the whole realistic vibe is hard to swallow now, it just doesn't look very good at all.

Is It Worth The Money?
If what you're looking for is another golf game and you've already exhausted all of the other golf games on the Virtual Console then by all means pick this up. For every sane person, this game is absolutely not worth your six dollars. I'm a fan of golf games, but this is not one that is essential for a good game collection.

Power Golf
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