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This Week In Defunct Games

Welcome to another exciting episode of This Week in Defunct Games! Every Tuesday join Cyril as he reviews the best (and worst) retro releases for the week. This week we're digging into our very first Wii U Virtual Console game. Prepare to be disappointed. The good news is that we have the debut of Contra on the 3DS Virtual Console. Oh wait, never mind, it's just Super C. Join us for a very disappointing week when you read This Week in Defunct Games!
Balloon Fight (Nintendo)
[ Release: January 23 | Price: $0.30 (Temp) | Console: NES | Year: 1986 ]
What Is It? And the first Wii U Virtual Console game is ... Balloon Fight? You've got to be kidding me! That's like creating a brand new DVD format and debuting with Weekend at Bernie's. It's like going to the local Walmart for you family vacation. Nintendo could have led off with any one of a hundred first party hits, but here is Balloon Fight.

Think of this first-generation NES game as a weird combination of helium and Joust. Unfortunately, I hate Joust and I hear that huffing helium is hazardous to my health. Perhaps that's the reason I could never got into Balloon Fight. Here you play a kid who is flying over the surface trying to take down enemies with balloons.

Beyond the fact that this plays almost exactly like Joust, Balloon Fight really doesn't make any sense. Wouldn't a dart gun be a more effective weapon to combat the evil balloon men? And why do I have to mash on the buttons to move my character up? You're using balloons; shouldn't you float without mashing the buttons? Like Soccer and Urban Champion before it, Balloon Fight is an early Nintendo title that deserves to be left in the past.

Does It Still Hold Up? If you think Joust is still a lot of fun to play, then there's a good chance you'll love this far more innocent rip-off. Balloon Fight is one of those games that sounds like it should be a lot of fun ... but it isn't. The problem with a game like this is that if you don't like the first stage, then you'll hate the rest of the game. Like many early NES games, level designs are repeated ad nauseum. I'm sure there are people out there that will enjoy this kind of monotony, but it's hard to be real excited about a game like Balloon Fight.

Is It Worth The Money? As of this writing, Balloon Fight is a mere thirty cents. That may be tempting, if only to see how well the Virtual Console works on the Wii U. The cynical side of me realizes that Nintendo could have released anything this week and practically every Wii U owner would buy it. Perhaps that's why they chose this mediocre NES game over, say, Super Mario Bros. The price may be good, but the game is all wrong.
Super C (Konami)
[ Release: January 24 | Price: $4.99 | Console: NES | Year: 1990 ]
What Is It? In Nintendo's initiative to slowly re-release the Wii Virtual Console games on the 3DS, Super C comes as a surprise. I figured we would see the original Contra before this 1990 sequel, but sometimes the Virtual Console works in mysterious ways.

Super C has everything you would expect from a Contra sequel -- insane difficulty, action-packed levels, tons of aliens to shoot, explosive weapons, two-player co-op and that familiar Konami code. Unfortunately, it's not nearly as much fun the second time around. Very little has changed and some of the problems with the first game have been amplified in this sequel. Worse yet, the faux-3D stages have been replaced with Heavy Barrel-inspired overhead sections.

Wedged between two of Konami's best 2D shooters, Super C is still highly regarded in some circles. Admittedly, it's not as bad as future Contra releases (I'm looking at you Contra Force), but it doesn't stack up next to the original and Alien Wars. It's a little disappointing that this is the first Contra game on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console.

Does It Still Hold Up? Despite the negativity, Super C is still better than the disappointing arcade original. This is a tighter and better paced Contra outing, and fans of the genre will certainly have a good time with it. Unfortunately, I found some of the changes to be unfair to the point of frustration. Now when the hero dies, he'll continue at the start of the stage. Couple this with the extreme difficulty and you have a game that is enjoyable at first, but can't quite live up to its predecessor.

Is It Worth The Money? Super C is a fun game that doesn't aspire to be much more than a mindless shooter. That may be fine for some people, but I was hoping for something bigger and more ambitious. This ends up feeling like an add-on mission pack and not a full-fledged sequel. That won't keep you from having a good time with the game, but frugal gamers are better off waiting for Nintendo to upload the original Contra.
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