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, GameTap 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 Nintendo has listened to my complaints and have uploaded two games to the Virtual Console. While that may not sound like much, both of these games have never been released in the U.S. before now. First up we get Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa, the crazy 2D platformer starring a baby. If that's too out there for you, then maybe you will prefer the more traditional Dig Dug. To cap off this week GameTap has given us a lot to talk about. Not only have they finally made Burger Time free for everybody, but they have also uploaded two amazing Earthworm Jim games (and one that sucks). Find out where I come down on all of these games when you check out this week's exciting episode of This Week in Defunct Games!
Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (Konami)
[ Virtual Console - 600 Points/$6 - Nintendo Entertainment System - 1993 ]
What Is It?
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play a Super Mario Bros. game where our hero is actually a newborn baby? No, not like Yoshi's Island: Super Mario World 2. I'm talking about a real 2D platformer where you aren't controlling some stupid (albeit adorable) dinosaur. Of course you haven't, because that idea is super lame. Or is it? Turns out that the idea isn't so bad after all. Let me introduce you to Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa, a quirky little game from Konami. In this game you play a little baby with, you guessed it, a magical rattle that transforms all of his enemies into big parade balloons. There's a stupid story about how you're the son of a very respected warrior, but when it comes right down to it you're basically playing a Mario-style action game with a baby. But you know, this idea actually worked on me. There's just something weird and original about this kind of game. The big reason this game works is because of the magical rattle, which makes your enemies float and allows you to climb to normally unreachable locations. This is an intriguing gameplay gimmick that is used throughout the game. Word on the street is that this game was originally set to come to the U.S., however former Nintendo President Howard Philips decided that it wasn't good enough for the American market. Oh how wrong he was.
Does It Still Hold Up?
First and foremost, you aren't going to gain any friends while playing this game. If you were ever thinking about joining a gang and proving that you are indeed tough enough, then you should just skip past this game and pretend we never spoke. However, if you don't mind playing a game about a newborn baby then you'll be happy to know that this game has held up remarkably well. Don't get me wrong, it's not as good as Super Mario Bros. or other popular 2D platformers, but it's a unique concept that ends up paying off. It's a little shallow, but for $6 you'll live.
Is It Worth The Money?
By now you've probably played all of the best 2D platformers, from Super Mario Bros. 3 to Sonic the Hedgehog to Rocket Knight Adventures, but I doubt you've seen this before. This isn't quite at the same level as those platformers I just mentioned, but its unique enough warrant a closer look. The baby aspect of the game isn't for everybody, so consider yourself warned.
Dig Dug (Namco)
[ Virtual Console - 600 Points/$6 - Nintendo Entertainment System - 1985 ]
What Is It?
Did you know that Dig Dug was never released on the 8-bit NES in the U.S.? It's true, the first taste of Dig Dug action most console gamers got was the dreadfully dull sequel, Dig Dug II. Well Dig Dug fans (Dig Duggers?) your long wait is over, because this week Nintendo has decided to upload the crazy Japanese version of Dig Dug for the Virtual Console. Okay, maybe it's not all that crazy, but it's still nice to see this foreign Dig Dug ported to an American console. Dig Dug is a game built around digging deep into the earth and using your air pump to, well, pump up enemies. That's it. You pretty much go from world to world digging and pumping, trying your hardest to get a high score. This Virtual Console version does manage to recreate the original arcade game; even if that means that there are no frills or extras. Dig Dug is still a fun game, but is this the best version you can get?
Does It Still Hold Up?
Who would have thought that digging in the dirt and blowing up monsters would be fun? Actually, on second thought, digging in the dirt and blowing up monsters sounds like a LOT of fun. The good news is that the control is pretty good and the graphics aren't bad, so playing this port won't be an overly painful experience. The gameplay is a bit shallow, but not so much that it would affect your enjoyment.
Is It Worth The Money?
Look, Dig Dug is still exactly the same as you remember it. The only thing this version is going to do is bring back good memories of playing Dig Dug on a tabletop machine at a pizza joint. But that alone isn't worth six dollars. The big problem with this game is that there are better, cheaper versions of Dig Dug already on the market. Why pay six bucks when you could pick up the Xbox Live Arcade version for five? And the Xbox Live Arcade version actually comes with online leaderboards and a whole host of other improvements. Dig Dug isn't a terrible game or anything, but it's probably not worth the premium price.
This Week in GameTap
Still not satisfied with what you're getting on the Virtual Console and Xbox Live Arcade? Then maybe you should head on over to GameTap! With more than 100 free games currently available, GameTap is one of the best places to play classic games! And every week they are adding brand new titles to the service, including old school games for the Genesis, Neo Geo, Commodore 64 and much, much more. Won't you join us as we take a look at what's going on this week over at GameTap!
Remember last week when I broke the news of a GameTap and Interplay deal? Well, it didn't take long for the first batch of Interplay titles to make it to the game service. But don't get too excited, because it's going to cost you. That's right, as of right now the three Interplay games released this week are only available via the subscription service. Here's my take on those three ...
Earthworm Jim (Genesis/Subscription) -
When I first saw Earthworm Jim I knew I was in love. There was nothing like it on the market at the time. Oh, I know, there was Contra, Midnight Resistance and a ton of other 2D action games, but none of them had the style, sense of humor and downright good looks of Earthworm Jim. Best known as David Perry's crowning jewel, Earthworm Jim is a comic book come to life. From the amazing character (an earthworm in a giant space suit) to all of the weird places you find yourself in (a garbage dump, hell, etc.), there is more style in one level of this game than an entire year's worth of Acclaim games. Best of all, Earthworm Jim is funny. Real funny. Perhaps the most impressive part of this game is seeing how well Earthworm Jim has held up. I was shocked at how modern the game feels, even though it's a 15 year old 2D action game. Give it a spin and you'll see exactly what I mean.
Earthworm Jim 2 (Genesis/Subscription) -
While not as good as the original, Earthworm Jim 2 is still one hell of a 2D action game. Fans of the original will be happy to see that just about everything they loved has been brought over to the sequel. And best of all, Earthworm Jim 2 sports a whole bunch of cool new weapons, enemies and levels. Part of the problem with this sequel is that it's so much like the original, there are very few real innovations in this game, which is disappointing given how amazing the first game was. Having said that, you can't go wrong playing through this wacky 2D action game.
Earthworm Jim 3D (Windows/Subscription) -
This is more proof that not every old school game should be turned into a new-fangled 3D experience. Earthworm Jim 3D is a dreadful experience that forgoes everything that made the two previous games so good and replaces it with terrible graphics, atrocious gameplay and a sense of humor that just can't quite find its mark. When Earthworm Jim was in 2D it was full of character, from the heavily detailed backgrounds to the stunning character animations, but this 3D game has poorly textured polygons, repetitive enemies and disappointing level designs. This is not only one of the worst games of all time, but one of the most unnecessary titles ever created. With Earthworm Jim 1 and 2 on the service there's absolutely no reason to play Earthworm Jim 3D.
Don't have a GameTap subscription? Don't worry, because this week we also get one genuine classic - Burger Time. Okay, so it's not exactly as cool as Earthworm Jim 1 and 2 ... but it's infinitely better than Earthworm Jim 3D. On top of the free Burger Time, GameTap is also offering Pop-ATronic and Flip Words 2 (both Windows games). Here are my thoughts on Burger Time ...
Burger Time (Arcade/Free) -
I don't care how old or young you are, at some point in your life you have experienced the fun that is Burger Time. This is the game where you run up and down a bunch of layers assembling gigantic Rosanne Barr-sized hamburger. While the game is still a lot of fun today, it's hard to get over the repetitive nature of this game. This is the kind of thing you may want to play for a few minutes, but you're probably not going to spend a half hour playing Burger Time. It's still a fun game, but it hasn't held up as well as other classic games reviewed this week.