Retro Round-up for September 27

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posted 9/28/2007 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. This week we check in with Kirby, Streets of Rage, Hero Tonma and a whole bunch of GameTap games. Warning: Bad puns ahead! Now quit wasting your time with this stupid introduction and start reading about all of the retro games ...


Kirby's Avalanche
What Is It?
Even if you've never heard of this Nintendo puzzler, Kirby's Avalanche is a game you've probably played before. Kirby's Avalanche is actually a remake of the classic puzzle game Puyo Puyo, and chances are you've experienced that game in one form or another. In fact, you may have already purchased a version of Puyo Puyo for the Virtual Console. Almost a year ago Nintendo uploaded Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, a Sonic the Hedgehog-inspired version of Puyo Puyo. Nintendo's stab is not too dissimilar from Sega's; they've taken a popular mascot character (in this case Kirby) and created a Puyo Puyo rip-off around him. The object is exactly the same as any other version of Puyo Puyo, colored blobs fall from the sky and it's your job to match four of them up. While it's simple to connect four blobs and make them disappear, the challenge is to cause chain reactions where you are taking out multiple colors at the same time. Although it doesn't differ from the tried and true Puyo Puyo formula, Kirby's Avalanche is the most visually appealing version of the game on the Virtual Console. There's no denying that the Super NES was capable of pushing a lot of colors at the same time, and this puzzler definitely benefits from the bright colorful make-over. But at the end of the day this is just Puyo Puyo and it really won't matter which version of the game you decide to pick up.

Does It Still Hold Up?
While it doesn't get the same amount of attention as Tetris, Puyo Puyo is one of the greatest puzzle games ever made. And while it's true that there are a lot of games like this already available on the market, there's no denying the simple pleasure that is Puyo Puyo. Kirby's Avalanche is a perfectly acceptable remake of this addictive puzzle game, the controls are easy and you'll be playing this long after you've grown board with all those 16-bit action games.

Is It Worth the Money?
No video game collection is complete without a copy of Puyo Puyo, no matter if it's Kirby's Avalanche, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine or one of the countless other remakes. If you already own Sega's version of the game then you should definitely pass on this Nintendo title, but at least now you have two different options (both for the same price). It really comes down to who you like better: Sonic the Hedgehog or Kirby. The game is worth buying, no matter which version you end up getting.


Kirby

Legend of Hero Tonma
What Is It?
Not only is Legend of Hero Tonma difficult to pronounce, but it's also difficult to enjoy. On one hand it's an interesting variation on the Ghouls 'N Ghosts theme, it features a likeable character and some cool bosses to deal with. But just when you start to enjoy playing as Hero Tonma you are introduced to the insane difficulty level. The enemies tend to swarm you in unfair ways and often make it extremely difficult to get away from them. The good news is that you can jump very, very high. But at the same time it's sometimes hard to judge just where you're jumping. And what's worse, you'll often jump right into enemies you can't even see. All this would be fine if you had a life bar or something, but in Tonma it's one hit and you're dead. Eventually you'll figure out the patterns and it will all start to make sense, but then you discover that the game is painfully short. That's not to say that you won't have a good time while it lasts, but the game's lack of replay and unfair difficulty makes this difficult to recommend.

Does It Still Hold Up?
It's always good to see a fun 2D platformer, but there are a lot of problems with this game that plague a lot of products from that era. Not only is the game insanely difficult, but I'm not a fan of the way the continue system works. Thankfully the controls are good, but you still have to put up with a lot of pain in order to fully enjoy this game.

Is It Worth the Money?
I'm fully aware that there are a lot of people that would get a kick out of Tonma; there are a lot of things to like about the game. But there's just something about this game that makes it hard for me to recommend. This is one of those times when it would be nice to have demos on the Virtual Console, because I know for a fact that there will be quite a few people who fall in love with the character and can overlook the imperfections. Unfortunately I can't.

Hero
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