Every Thursday Defunct Games wants to take a moment and reflect on all of the classic games that were given new life. Thanks to video game compilations, Nintendo's Virtual Console, the Xbox Live Arcade, DSiWare, WiiWare and even the PlayStation 3, fans of retro games are able to find all sorts of crazy old games. But what games are good? How well have these games held up? Which ones should you spend your money on? That's where This Week In Defunct Games comes in! Every week we plan on looking at the best and worst of this week's retro games, including classic titles for the NES, Neo Geo, Genesis and more.
This week we have one of the most diverse line-ups we've seen so far this year, with everything from a hardcore strategy game to a fast-action mech fighter to a game about paper airplanes. There's a lot of good here, but not all of it is worth your money. Find out what games you want to avoid when you read through another exciting episode of This Week in Defunct Games!
Nobunaga's Ambition (Koei)
[ Virtual Console - 800 Points/$8 - Super NES - 1993 ]
What Is It?
Nobunaga's Ambition is one of those games that has vexed me for the last two decades. I remember renting it as a youngster, but at that time I was too interested in fast action games and the traditional Mario-style platformer. All this time I figured that my issue was with the mountains of text and strategic gameplay. I figured that it was my lack of attention span that kept me from enjoying this series. But I was wrong. After spending some time with this Super NES version I realize that maybe I'm not the target audience for Nobunaga's Ambition. It's not that I don't understand what's going on; this time around I started to "get" what I was supposed to do. The problem is the game's slow pace, which pushed me away faster than orgy night at the senior citizen center. This is a strategy game where you allocate resources to raise a capable military force, provide a productive economy to support both military and civilian expansion and support the peasants in order to sustain their respect and loyalty. Or something like that. This Super NES version slightly upgrades the graphics and sound, but for the most part this game is exactly the same as what I played on the NES.
Does It Still Hold Up?
Nobunaga's Ambition looked outdated even when the game first came out, so this Super NES "update" wasn't exactly giving Donkey Kong Country a run for its money. Still, the gameplay is solid ... for what it is. You'll have to deal with a lot of menus and dialog, but if you're prepared for that then it almost doesn't matter what this game looks like. I say it holds up.
Is It Worth The Money?
You do not go into Nobunaga's Ambition without first knowing whether you like this type of game or not. I don't, it completely confuses me. But that's me, this is not one of those games where a simple recommendation is going to convince you to buy the game. If you're really into this type of game then eight dollars is a bargain, you'll be at this game for dozens (if not hundreds) of hours. However, if you don't "get" the game, then even a dollar is too much to pay. It's a shame Nintendo doesn't offer a way to demo the game before you buy it; if ever there was a game that needed it, Nobunaga's Ambition is it.
WiiWare Limerick Theater
Every week Nintendo announces their new Virtual Console offerings. But what you may not know is that they also announce the newest games for the Wii's specialized WiiWare channel. This is the place where you can download cheap smaller games, the type of titles you would only pay a few dollars for. Thus far we haven't spent much time covering these hidden gems, but today that's going to end. Starting today we're going to cover the WiiWare line-up just as we would any other section. To keep things consistent, we have decided to post all WiiiWare reviews in the form of a limerick. This week we're looking at something called Cocoto Platform Jumper, which kind of sounds like a platfomer!
I once played Cacoto Platform Jumper by Ben Ben, and I really want to give it a ten. It's about a demon bird, at least that's what I heard, but I'm probably wrong again.
The Great DSiWare Haiku
Not content with the Virtual Console and WiiWare, Nintendo has decided to offer up a THIRD avenue for downloading games. That's right, it's the DSiWare, and it's the best (and only) way to download games to your brand new Nintendo DSi. Each week we take a look at Nintendo's uploads through the form of poetry. Haiku, to be exact. Will these reviews help your purchase of DSiWare games? Nah, but they're a lot of fun to read. See for yourself when you read my haikus for Clubhouse Games Express: Card Classics and Paper Airplane Chase.
Like paper airplanes.
Only without the paper.
You lazy bastards.
The Argument Over 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. Join us as we take an inconclusive look at Rare's Banjo Tooie and Sega's long-awaited Virtual On port (as reviewed by Defunct Games's own Lee Miller).
POINT: Fans of mediocre mascots and repetitive platforming action rejoice, because Banjo is back in yet another overpriced Nintendo 64 port. You know how all of the N64 games are a measly ten bucks on Nintendo's Virtual Console? Well, apparently Microsoft didn't get the memo, because they are charging a full $15 for what amounts to a second-rate platformer from ten years ago. While I'm sure there are people who will really enjoy this, I found this to be another Mario 64 clone that fails to have the same amount of humor and character as other similar titles (Conker's Bad Fur Day springs to mind).
COUNTERPOINT: Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hang on just one minute, Banjo Tooie is one of the greatest Nintendo 64 games every released. It's full of exciting characters, cool bosses and plenty of items to collect. And as a fan of collecting stuff, there's more than enough to keep me busy until Microsoft decides to give us a real sequel to this series. You couldn't be more wrong when you say that this game doesn't have a sense of humor, I found myself smiling from beginning to end. Though, you're right, the fifteen dollar asking price does seem a bit steep.
POINT: Come on, this is Virtual On. People talk about the controls more than they do the actual game. Sure it was an amazing game in the arcade or if you shelled out a hundred buck to import that controller add-on from Japan, but there is no such two-stick peripheral for the Xbox 360 in any country. Not to mention the game is fifteen bucks with very minimal upgrades, in fact compared to the Japanese version of the Saturn game there are no upgrades! Oh, there's a score attack mode with online leader boards? It would have been best to leave this game to the Dreamcast snobs with too much spare cash, now everyone who plays it without ever touching the arcade version is just going to say it sucks. Sigh ... it's the U.S. Dreamcast version launch all over again!
COUNTERPOINT: No, you come on. So yes, it's a bit unwieldy at first without the mythical twin stick (*pause for enchanted choir singing praises*), but it's far from broken. It's just a new system of controls you have to learn. Suck it up, when was the last time you picked up a new fighting franchise and instantly knew all the moves? Well now add in the 3rd dimension, there aren't many games like this so of course there's going to be a steep learning curve. It's true, there isn't much added in here, but that seems about par for the course in games ported to XBLA. It's probably for the best; do you really want today's Sega trying to change Virtual On? Remember Virtual On: Marz? No? Well there's a reason you don't. Be happy they added online play, that's the real attraction to this fighter. Wait? There's no split screen 2 player versus mode? Never mind you were right after all!