Virtual Console Roundup • Page 2

The last ten! Including Secret of Mana.

Forgotten Worlds

  • Platform: Megadrive
  • Wii Points: 800
  • In Real Money: GBP 6 / EUR 7.70 (approx)

The biggest problem with a home conversion of Capcom's 1988 side-scrolling arcade shooter is that one of the game's biggest selling points - the rotational firing system - simply doesn't work on a joypad. Since this is an emulation of the Megadrive version, rather than an update, we're still stuck with clunky button aiming even though the nunchuk stick would be perfect for the task. The two-player mode remains, as well, an inclusion which may seem par for the course today but back in the late 80s it was the height of social gaming.

What ultimately holds Forgotten Worlds back is that its title proves spookily prescient. It's a fairly drab port of a forgettable shooter that is effortlessly eclipsed by dozens of other genre entries - most of which are available on the VC for the same price or less.

A great shoot-'em-up is conducted like a concerto, full of dramatic pauses and impossible crescendos. There's a flair and artistry to the classics that is sorely lacking here. You hover stiffly from left to right, with the rigid Megadrive controls offering little fluidity or grace, while uninspired waves of enemies drift in from the other side. Upgrading your orbiting satellite by cashing in collected "zenny" currency is about as interesting as it gets, and even that's hardly an idea unique to this game.

4/10

Boogerman

  • Platform: Megadrive
  • Wii Points: 800
  • In Real Money: GBP 6 / EUR 7.70 (approx)

Any Wii owners with young sons can rest assured that while Boogerman is far from one of the best platform games of its era, it is categorically the one guaranteed to make under-10s laugh themselves silly.

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Shamelessly, purposefully gross, Boogerman imagines a superhero whose powers are all drawn from snot, bums, farts and burps. You defeat enemies by flicking bogies at them. You can also unleash devastating belches. You flush yourself down a toilet to access new areas. Leave Boogerman alone and he starts pulling bright green gobbets of mucus from his nose, and either eating them or desperately trying to detach the sticky slime from his fingers. Even more than the similar Earthworm Jim, it's a title where puerile gross-out gags dominate gameplay at every turn.

That's not to say it's a bad game, however. It's actually a decent enough platformer, though you can't help wondering how much better it might have been had they spent a little less time on the nose-picking animation and a little more on less derivative level design. Young boys, especially those obsessed with the Captain Underpants books, are unlikely to care about such technicalities, which makes this an easy download decision for parents with a sense of humour.

7/10

Metal Slug 2 (NeoGeo)

  • Platform: NeoGeo
  • Wii Points: 900
  • In Real Money: GBP 6.30 / EUR 8.10 (approx)

People seem intimidated by the Metal Slug series. It has a reputation, rather unfairly, for being brutally tough and suitable only for the most hardened run-and-gun experts. It's certainly tricky, but not excessively so and certainly not in comparison to other prominent titles in the genre. Played alongside Green Beret, for instance, this Neo Geo gem looks positively casual. And besides, any frustration must surely be tempered by how goofily fun the whole thing is.

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For this second entry, SNK added a whole host of new weapons and features, most of which showcase the franchise's offbeat sense of humour. This is backed up by the broad cartoon style, which still impresses today - although this is hardly some relic of bygone years, since it first came out in 1998.

You can turn into a mummy, just to pick one obvious example of the weird Easter eggs tucked away inside. Pick up too many health-restoring food items in the same life and your character becomes fat and slow. And that's before we get to the laser-mounted camels, the kung-fu prisoner of war who will protect you using Street Fighter moves and countless moments of incidental ingenuity.

But sadly the same caveat that accompanied the first Metal Slug on the VC still applies. The Metal Slug Anthology collates seven games from the series on disc, and can now be bought for just over twice the price of this solitary offering. If you like frantic blasting and silly humour then I heartily recommend you seek out Metal Slug. Just don't feel obliged to do it via Virtual Console.

7/10

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