Retro Round-up for September 12

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posted 9/12/2008 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. I hope you're not tired of 2D shooters, because this week we have both overhead and side-scrolling shooters. Up first we have Cho Aniki for the TurboDuo. If that's not enough, we also have Final Soldier, which is also for the TurboDuo. If you're not into 2D shooters, then maybe Samurai Shodown II is more your style. And when we're done with that we end with our look at what's new with GameTap. All this can be yours when you read this exciting episode of the Retro Round-Up!

Cho Aniki
What Is It?
We can't go too far into this review without first acknowledging Cho Aniki's place in modern gaming culture. While most western gamers have never heard of this side-scrolling 2D shooter, Cho Aniki has quite a name attached to it. While most games feature hot women with enormous breasts, Cho Aniki went a different direction. More of a rainbow-colored direction, if you catch my drift. The game's near-naked musclemen stars and wacky sense of humor made it stand out, but it was its flamboyant gay content that made it famous. Well, don't expect too much of that stuff in this first game, a 1992 shooter from Masaya. The game features two playable characters, small graphics and very little of the franchise's patented humor. That's not to say that the game isn't wacky, because it certainly is, but gamers expecting this to look like San Francisco's Castro district will be disappointed.

Does It Still Hold Up?
What sets this series apart is its over the top humor (if you want to call it that), but when you strip that away (no pun intended) you're left with a fairly generic shooter. Thankfully the gameplay is solid and the levels are unique enough to keep you going.

Is It Worth the Money?

In a lot of ways this is a very average 2D shooter, but I'm going to recommend it for one very specific reason: Because if enough people buy this maybe we'll see some of the over the top sequels. I'm a big fan of supporting the import games, if only because it’s the first time most people will play these games. This is a perfect example of that theory. There are probably a lot of hardcore gamers who have heard of this series in passing but never played the game. Now they can. Sadly it doesn't hold up to the hype, but that shouldn't keep you from having a good time with this rare shooter.

Choaniki

Final Soldier
What Is It?
Sick and tired of 2D shooters on the Virtual Console? Lately it seems like the only choice we get is whether we want our shoot-em-up to be overhead or side-scrolling. But don't write Final Soldier off too quickly. It comes from a good family; it's the third game in the popular Star Solider series. Like the rest of the games in the series, Final Solider is your standard overhead shooter full of big power-ups and cool bosses. The only thing that sets this series apart from most of the other shooters on the platform is the difficulty level, which is significantly easier than games like R-Type and Gradius. That means that this is the shooter for the rest of us, the people who refuse to memorize patterns and get involved with bullet hell. But there's a problem, for some strange reason Nintendo has been uploading these out of order. You've been able to download Soldier Blade for months, and it's only been a couple of weeks since Nintendo gave us the charming Star Parodier. If you're the kind of person who doesn't going back a few years, then you may get a kick out of Final Soldier, but everybody else should just get one of the other recent sequels.

Does It Still Hold Up?
The gameplay is perfectly fine, which shouldn't surprise anybody considering that this is the third game in the franchise. Final Soldier's graphics and sound aren't always spectacular, and sometimes they come off as generic. Thankfully the game's speed and diverse levels will keep you going, even though you've seen this all before.

Is It Worth the Money?

At this point there are way too many other shooters on the Virtual Console to recommend this. Then again, if you've played through all of the other Star Soldier games and you're still not sick of overhead shooting, then you should definitely download this seven dollar shoot-em-up. And just as an aside, I'm really hoping that next week we don't get any more 2D shooters. I love this genre and all, but lately I've had to play a lot of these types of games and I'm ready for something different. Maybe something called Wind Jammers.

Final Soldier
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