- Platform: TurboGrafx 16
- Wii Points: 600
- In Real Money: 4.20 GBP/6 EUR (approx)
There's irony at work here. Hudson Soft's 1989 adventure game features a young sword-waggling hero, who roams a contiguous overworld, descending into caves and dungeons at will. Combat is real-time, with wandering foes dispatched with a little stabby move. A fantasy kingdom is in jeopardy, and only a missing princess holds the key to unlocking the power of a shattered artefact, sought by a demonic bad guy. Any resemblance to Link, Zelda, the Triforce or Ganon is clearly a wild coincidence.
Back when the TurboGrafx was struggling to dent the vice-like grip of the NES such blatant copyism was par for the course. Now that both games are curled up together beneath the snugly VC duvet, it all seems rather silly. Neutopia has the advantage of the TG16's superior graphical muscle but, with four Zelda games and a smattering of other RPG style games already on the VC, there's nothing terribly essential about this offering.
Having said that, it's charming enough for all its derivative stylings and, if you're looking for maximum value for your Wii points, then even a nice-but-generic role player is a more useful addition to the roster than yet another sub-par platformer.
- Platform: NES
- Wii Points: 500
- In Real Money: GBP 3.75 / EUR 5.00
Talking of Bear Bovver, Artic Computing, the publisher of that ursine platformer also put out a 1983 snooker game for the Spectrum called (with typical early industry flair) Snooker. It was one of the first games I owned, and my curdled memory tells me it was actually a fairly decent simulation of the click-clacking coloured balls.
Lunar Pool, a gimmicky NES billiards game, is actually less impressive despite appearing several years later and on a more technically adept platform. Slap the balls into the pockets, using a rotating cursor to aim your invisible cue, and take the shot when the oscillating power bar is at the preferred level. Fail to pot a ball within three shots and you lose a life. It's all predictable enough so, as the lunar prefix suggests, there's a puddle of videogame wackiness right around the corner to "enliven" proceedings.
Different table shapes complicate matters with sharp corners, as does the ability to alter the friction of the table. Set it to zero and the balls will keep bouncing forever (or until they all find a pocket). Set it to 255 and the balls barely move at all. It's vaguely amusing the first time you tinker with it, but such desperate gimmickery isn't enough to compensate for the basic execution. The wacky layouts and prehistoric physics mean you can't really approach it as a proper game of pool, so it's only a matter of time before you fall back on the old "whack everything as hard as you can" mode of last resort gameplay.
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