Virtual Console Roundup

Alien Storm and Startropics.

Version tested Wii

Remember last week, when I jokingly said it was unlikely that we'd wake up one morning and find GoldenEye on the VC for just 500 points? Well since that dream scenario has since become even more unlikely than ever, let's see what retro bitches the Nintendo pimp has lined up for us this week.

StarTropics

  • Platform: NES
  • Wii Points: 500
  • In Real Money: GBP 3.75 / EUR 5.00

Zelda. Zelda, Zelda. What hast thou wrought? Despite a smattering of its own ideas, StarTropics is yet another latter day NES effort hoping to hoover up some residual cash from gamers who had exhausted Link's adventures.

You play as Mike, a generic American everykid, visiting his scientist uncle on a tropical island. When you arrive you're informed, by a slightly sinister topless moustachioed man, that your dear old uncle has been abducted. None of the friendly natives seem terribly arsed about this situation, but they give you a yo-yo and shove you in the direction of - yes - an underground tunnel in order to start your quest.

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While you can earn the expected new weapons, and fill up your inventory with the usual stat-boosting goodies, the bulk of the dungeon crawling is more like a puzzle game than an RPG. Each room is sealed, and opening the exit (or exits) depends on defeating all the creatures jittering about, or jumping on the tiles that trigger the doorways. It's all pleasant enough, though its marred by sluggish controls, respawning beasts and an annoying habit of sending you all the way back to the start should you die.

Progress far enough and you get to explore in a submarine, but it's scant reward for what is a fairly charmless experience. Dedicated retro adventurers might find enough to enjoy to justify a download, but for the vast majority there are other, better, offerings available.

Who do we have to bribe to get ChronoTrigger? I'm serious. Let's have a whipround.

5/10

Alien Storm

  • Platform: Megadrive
  • Wii Points: 800
  • In Real Money: GBP 5.60 / EUR 8.00

It was only when I saw the neon green logo plastered across the screen that I dimly remembered this arcade shooter from my misspent youth. It was one of those horizontal scrollers that I saw endlessly advertised in games mags but never bothered to check out.

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Now I know why. Superficially similar to Golden Axe, you trundle across the screen in one of three guises - bloke, girl, robot - clobbering small groups of generic alien creatures as they shuffle amiably towards you. Occasionally you can dip inside a building to take part in atrocious shooting gallery stages. Collision detection is fussy, meaning you have to be on the exact same horizontal plane as an enemy to cause any damage, while the treacle-slow pace does little to keep you engaged.

It is, quite frankly, a bland, flavourless slog. Amusement comes only from goofy animations - such as the robot character, Scooter, and his self-destruct smart bomb move - but that's no reason to waste 800 points. If horizontal button-mashing is your thing, stick with Streets of Rage. Or Golden Axe. Or Final Fight. Or Probotector. Or...

2/10

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