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 taking a look at a couple of middling releases. Up first it's World Heroes 2 Jet, the penultimate installment of this long-forgotten fighting franchise. Dig Dug is also on the roster, ready to inflate bad guys old school style. Are either of these games worth picking up? Read on to find out!

ATTENTION: Forget these two games, you should spend this weekend watching the 24HR Mega Man Marathon! This involves completing all 10 original Mega Man games, hosting exclusive interviews and raising money for Child's Play Charity. It all starts on Saturday, February 16 at 3 pm PT!
World Heroes 2 Jet (ADK)
[ Release: February 14 | Price: 900 Points | Console: Neo Geo | Year: 1994 ]
What Is It? Last month, I found myself outraged by the out-of-sequence release of World Heroes 2 on the Wii Virtual Console. After playing World Heroes Perfect (the fourth and final entry), it was tough taking two giant steps backwards. The whole ordeal left me hating Nintendo's laissez-faire approach to the Virtual Console. By releasing them out of order, it undermined the older games and only added another layer of confusion. Worst of all, it was yet another wasted week.

Well gang, I have good news. My anger for World Heroes 2 has subsided, just in time to check out World Heroes 2 Jet. This penultimate installment adds a few new tricks, such as a quick dash move and two completely new game modes. There are three new characters to choose from and the speed of the fights has been dramatically increased.

Unfortunately, World Heroes 2 Jet keeps too many of the archaic mechanics from the past. Much like the first two games, this third episode uses the three-button layout. This limits the type of attacks you can use and makes the whole experience feel shallow. This was resolved in World Heroes Perfect, making it hard to go back to this outdated entry. Still, the game's new modes and characters make this half-step a little easier to swallow.

Does It Still Hold Up? Instead of dwelling on the gameplay, it's worth noting that World Heroes 2 Jet looks fantastic. The backgrounds are full of detail and I can't help but love the characters. I am especially fond of the new bad guy, Zeus. The faster gameplay goes a long way to making this World Heroes 2 Jet feel more modern. For whatever reason, I'm unable to get over the three-button layout. Mapping multiple punches and kicks to the same button is positively ludicrous and should have been excised from this series long before World Heroes 2 Jet.

Is It Worth The Money? On its own, this is yet another solid fighting game for the Neo Geo. It has a wide variety of characters to choose from, good looking visuals, catchy tunes and two intriguing game modes. If it wasn't for the pesky release of World Heroes Perfect, this would be a must-have. But Perfect has been available for months, rendering this an unnecessary purchase. Still, World Heroes 2 Jet is an above average fighting game with a lot going for it. Respect its place in the franchise and then buy World Heroes Perfect instead.
Dig Dug (Namco)
[ Release: February 14 | Price: $4.99 | Console: NES | Year: 1985 (Jp) ]
What Is It? Dig Dug is the original "sandbox" game. In an era where every arcade game was trying to catch Pac-Man, this Namco release is a real oddity. Dig Dug is a maze game that seemingly forgot the maze. And while not hugely influential, this three decade old Namco game still remains a classic in certain circles. Unfortunately, I do not run in that crowd. This is a game full of original ideas, but none of them are able to keep my attention all these years later.

You play a man brought in to eradicate the monstrous menace found deep underground. You sift through the dirt and sand, ready to defeat any monster that gets in your way. This is accomplished by inflating each monster with a powerful tire pump. There are no walls, so you'll have to worry about the two baddies coming from all sides. In true arcade fashion, it starts easy and quickly ramps up. Every few stages the color scheme changes and more monster arrive. It's this kind of simple concept that made Dig Dug one of the most successful arcade games of all time.

Does It Still Hold Up? As an arcade port, Dig Dug excels. The graphics look good and the gameplay is responsive. What holds this game back is its lack of variety. The unique gameplay hints at a much more interesting title, but level after level we're subjected to the same thing. Instead of speeding things up or adding new villains, Dig Dug ramps up the difficulty by cheating. Too often they'll double up bad guys, leading to a number of unavoidable deaths. The squandered potential and frustrating A.I. leads me to conclude that this Namco classic does not hold up.

Is It Worth The Money? Dig Dug left me cold. I can respect its place in the history of arcade maze games, but this is not the way I want to remember it. It's hard to deny the flood of good memories that come with the first play. But a little of that excitement wears off with each subsequent play. It ultimately left me disappointed by what could have been a much deeper and more interesting action game. Dig Dug only scratches the surface of a really cool concept.
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