Defunct Games
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 looking at two very familiar Virtual Console games. Up first it's Metal Slug 4, the fifth game in the Neo Geo series we've reviewed. We also have Ice Climber, the classic NES launch game that showed the world how two-player co-op was supposed to be done. Are either of these games worth buying? Find out now!
Metal Slug 4 (SNK)
[ Release: January 31 | Price: 900 Points | Console: Neo Geo | Year: 2002 ]
What Is It? At this point, there's nothing left to say about Metal Slug. If you've played even one minute of Metal Slug 1, 2, X or 3, then you know what to expect with part 4. You get the usual assortment of levels (city streets, snowy mountainside, caves, clone factory, etc.) and the same impressive bosses (air ship, missile silo, giant mech), making for a safe and predictable action game.

By now you've heard all of my complaints. It's the usual session of me complaining about the limited gameplay, unbalanced weapons, vehicles that are no fun to pilot and bosses that are specifically designed to remove quarters from your pocket. Outside of a few new enemies and frames of animation, the only thing new about Metal Slug 4 is scoring system. Is that enough of a reason to justify another Metal Slug purchase?

Does It Still Hold Up? I may complain about the lack of innovation, but I am instantly won over by the game's hand drawn sprites and detailed backgrounds. The giant mech boss is an absolute triumph on every level, reminding me that Metal Slug can still be a visual delight. Unfortunately, it doesn't take long to remember that I've done all this before with the exact same gameplay and weapons. It never changes.

Is It Worth The Money? I know that I sound like a broken record, but there's no reason to buy this single game for nine dollars when you can get the entire collection for roughly the same price. You may have to track it down online, but copies of Metal Slug Anthologies still exist, and that really is the best bang for your buck. Even with new levels and bosses, Metal Slug 4 just isn't different enough to warrant the obscene price.
Ice Climber (Nintendo)
[ Release: January 31 | Price: $4.99 | Console: NES | Year: 1985 ]
What Is It? First released as an arcade game in 1984, Ice Climber is best known as the colorful two-player Nintendo Entertainment System launch game. It tells the story of a brave climber (and his equally brave, though differently colored buddy) who uses a mallet to climb through 32 treacherous levels of ice and rock. To make matters worse, these two climbers will be forced to contend with birds, small yetis and other vicious animals that call home to the cold climate.

No matter if you play solo or with a friend, Ice Climber's end game is always the same. You break through ice ceilings, surf on clouds and slowly float past enemies on the many conveyer belts. But just because the first few levels are a piece of cake, that doesn't mean you'll painlessly walk through all 32 stages. There comes a point in Ice Climber where the masochistic side of Nintendo comes out and dares you to climb higher. You may get to the top, but it's not going to be easy.

Does It Still Hold Up? The levels are tough and the enemies are abundant, but that's not reason why you'll fail at Ice Climber. Your enemy is the outdated gameplay. It all stems from the jumping mechanics, which are too floaty and never feel right. The game is also a jerk most of the time, making you fall through platforms for no reason and placing enemies in the worst locations. With Super Mario Bros. being released on the same day, there's no excuse for gameplay this busted.

Is It Worth The Money? I'm not against the idea of re-releasing early NES games on the Nintendo 3DS, but must we start from the very beginning? Who needs this crummy launch game when they could have Snow Bros. Jr., Capcom's wonderfully exciting ice-themed action game? Best of all, that's a real Game Boy game; the one thing we were promised when Nintendo launched the 3DS Virtual Console. Please, Nintendo, I'm begging you; let Ice Climber die somewhere on the middle of that mountain.
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