Galaga

  • Platform: NES
  • Wii Points: 500

Not to be confused with Gallagher, the hastily shelved 1994 shoot-'em-up in which you must repel a steadily advancing horde of shaggy-haired Mancunians, Galaga is best described as Space Invaders - But With More Going On. Enemies swoop into formation, and then begin their downward march, occasionally breaking rank to divebomb you and pull scary faces. As always, you retort with slivers of vertical pixel destruction.

With such simple gameplay it's hard to go wrong, and if you enjoy the spartan aesthethic of classic arcade games then you'll find plenty to enjoy here. Where the recommendation falls short is in the way titles like this shine a harsh spotlight on the VC's no-frills approach. Galaga is also available on Xbox Live Arcade, for much the same price, in a version that boasts polished visuals, online leaderboards and other funky additions from our modern world. Taken just as a VC offering, Galaga is hard to criticise. Taken as a purchase in the broader gaming market, its value diminishes accordingly.

7/10

Gradius

  • Platform: NES
  • Wii Points: 500
gradius

Horizontal rather than vertical shooty-shoot fun is the order of the day here. Pre-dating the suspiciously similar R-Type by a few years, you pilot your ship through wave after wave of weird blob-shaped things and enemy cannons, collecting power-ups and avoiding bullets for as long as possible.

It's all perfectly acceptable stuff, and rather ground-breaking in its own way, but you can't ignore the fact that the vastly superior R-Type III is also available for 300 points more. It's also annoying that this isn't even the best version of Gradius - the TurboGrafx-16 also hosted a conversion with better visuals and slicker play. Why we only get this, the most basic version of an otherwise decent game, is one of those mysteries that only the great god Nin-Ten-Doh can answer. Pray to him now, lowly dog, and hope for enlightenment.

6/10

Kid Icarus

  • Platform: NES
  • Wii Points: 500
kid

I think they've got a little confused here. They've mixed up Icarus, the young Greek lad who stuck feathers to his arms with wax and then flew too close to the sun, with Cupid, the archery-loving Roman cherub who ascended through platform levels, shooting blue snakes and flying red eyeballs.

Because that's what you do. Up, up, up you go and twang, twang, twang goes your bow. It also features a wraparound screen, so that if you exit stage right, you appear on the left hand side of the screen, turning what was previously an impassable ceiling into a delightfully solid floor. It's all quite sweet and fun, a bit like Rainbow Islands but not as interesting or colourful. File it alongside all the other titles that have made me say "Not the sort of game to rush out and download, but worth the points all the same".

6/10

About the author

Simon Parkin

Simon Parkin

Contributor

Simon Parkin is an award-winning writer and journalist from England, a regular contributor to The New Yorker, The Guardian and a variety of other publications.

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