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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

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Download Games Roundup

Xevious! 99Bullets! Draw! Epic! Robot!

"Although we may not be able to completely prevent you from regretting purchasing Nintendo 3DS early, we would like to express our gratitude to our special customers like you."

Have such truly humbled words tumbled forth from one of the gaming giants with such bowing sincerity? Not that I can recall.

The last time a console manufacturer slashed the price with such brutal swiftness was when Microsoft hacked a £100 off the price of the original Xbox, just two months after launch. Back then Microsoft offered two full-priced games and a free Xbox controller by way of compensation. Drastic, but necessary. [Thanks to Steve for pointing out the error].

To Nintendo's credit, those of us who've backed the system to date will get to enjoy a stack of freebie games - comprised of 10 NES, and 10 Game Boy/Game Boy Advance titles. It's a nice touch, for sure, but the real issue Nintendo needs to address is the daft pricing of its downloadable titles. Carrying on like the 3DS is immune to the threat of mobile gaming is is not going to help its new system make headway, and the sooner it realises this, the better.

Sony has certainly demonstrated recently that it has to be aggressive with pricing, with a whole host of titles, including numerous Minis, being reduced to 99p, or being given away to PlayStation Plus subscribers. Nintendo is involved in a different game now, and it surely knows it - but it has to do more to halt the 3DS' decline.

3D Classics: Xevious

  • 3DS eShop - £5.40/€5.99/$5.99

There are some games that you wish would be allowed some dignity to quietly live out their days in an enthusiast's garage somewhere. Xevious had its moment back in 1982, when scrolling vertical shmups were a novelty and it was possible to be impressed by the pretty coloured backdrops.

But in gameplay terms it was by no means outstanding, and was rapidly usurped by dozens of better shooters - a point that has been reinforced via countless re-releases. And look! Here's another one, at a price scientifically designed to make you weep salty tears of injustice.


The big news here, of course, is that it's now in brain-mangling 3D, where the foreground is pulled back to give it the added depth that makes it instantly more attractive. By which I mean that it doesn't at all.

In fact, by default, the depth is so confusing to my addled senses, that it's the first game on the 3DS that had me reaching for the slider within the first few seconds to dial it down to about one-quarter strength.

Once that's out of the way, it quickly becomes apparent that absolutely nothing has been added (or taken away) from the game, and that this is a straightforward port. The upshot is that there are no checkpoints, no variable difficulty settings, no extras to unlock - just you, three lives, and a series of unapologetically tough scrolling stages to plough through.

Unless you're some kind of creepy time-rich retro masochist who actually enjoys having to start over from scratch every single time, Xevious is likely to provoke nothing but buyer's remorse. Vote with your wallet and send Namco and Nintendo a clear signal that no-one's interested in this half-arsed shovelware - 3D or not.