Version tested: Wii
Only two new additions to the Wii's retro-flavoured download service this week - one classic gaming hero makes his VC debut, while the World's Worst Beat-'Em-Up dares to show its face in polite society. And, on top of that excitement sandwich, you've also got a carefully arranged salad of reviews for existing titles that managed to escape our attention.
This brings us to the end of these bumper weekly roundups, since we've now covered every single sodding game on the Virtual Console. Next week sees normal service resumed, with reviews of the new releases to tease your Wii money from your Wii wallet. Until then just loosen your belt, keep the Gaviscon close at hand and stuff your dirty face with pocket-sized Wiiviews (oh yes) until you cry for mercy...
- Platform: NES
- Wii Points: 500
While it's great to finally see a new game series debut on the VC, newcomers to the MegaMan series will probably find his debut outing a frustrating experience. And, while the purist in me (his name's Jurgen, by the way) appreciates the notion of starting in chronological order, I can't help wishing they'd started with one of the later, more refined iterations of the formula.
Gameplay is no more or less complex than a-leaping and a-shooting across flip-screen platform levels to find and defeat eight enemy Robot Masters, each with self-explanatory names like Bomb Man, Fire Man and, er, Guts Man. Power-ups beef up your arm-cannon and health, but where soft nougat-centred modern gamers will struggle is in the ferocious difficulty, with almost every stage opening with some fist-clenching sequence of pixel-perfect leaps or hyper-aggressive enemies.
You can choose to tackle the stages in any order you please, though, and you do get a generous health bar rather than the old one-hit-kill approach. Once you grow accustomed to the unforgiving level design, you'll discover a rather nice little platform adventure full of clever ideas. Whether or not you make it that far is up to you. Be warned.
- Platform: TurboGrafx-16
- Wii Points: 600
While other consoles had to make do with boasting "arcade-style" graphics, in much the same way as cheap pies contain "meat-flavoured pieces", the TurboGrafx-16 had no such limitations. It could proudly claim true arcade graphics, the visual equivalent of a proper steak and kidney with lovely thick gravy.
Where it often fell flat was in the gameplay department, with its enormous and colourful sprites frequently used to mask shallow or downright dull gameplay. This is certainly the case with China Warrior, a beat-'em-up which features some of the largest sprites of its time as well as some of the worst fighting action you're ever likely to witness.
Your towering Bruce Lee lookalike minces across the screen, and you prod the buttons to punch or kick approaching enemies out of the way. Monks, wasps, fireballs - the usual everyday obstacles when out for a stroll. Yet the whole thing is so stiff and monotonous that you'll grow bored way before the end of the first level. While such shortcomings were papered over by the OMG factor of the graphics way back when, such basic trickery falls flat in 2007. Download this at your peril.