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Virtual Console Roundup

Lords of Thunder, Lolo 2 and Super Street Fighter II.

Much like the '80s yuppie, frozen until they find a cure for boneitis, so the Virtual Console Roundup wakes from its slumber. Three weeks, three games. Don't strain yourselves, guys. The good news is that all three are well above average. The bad news is that, thanks to the curious way games are selected for the VC, all are also curiously inessential. Take my hand, and I'll explain why.

Ready? Let's go. [This doesn't feel like a hand. - Ed]

Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers

  • Platform: SNES
  • Wii Points: 800
  • In Real Money: GBP 6.00 / EUR 8.00

It's hard to grumble too much about Street Fighter II. Whichever version you're looking at is pretty much guaranteed to be superior to most of its peers, and probably stands up perfectly well alongside most modern fighting games as well.

And yet...

Does this version, which introduced a bunch of new characters as the title suggests, really add anything vital to the VC selection? You get Cammy, making her debut, along with Fei Long, T. Hawk and - lord help us - Dee Jay, the only Street Fighter character designed in the US. He's a funky kickboxer, all showboating and cocky attitude, and he does a sort of fighty breakdance thing. He's from Jamaica, inevitably.

It also boasts a smattering of new moves, new animations and the first on-screen combo meter in a Street Fighter game. Aficionados usually insist that The New Challengers is the more balanced game, with tweaks to key moves across the board and a handicap system, but also that it feels very slow compared to Super Street Fighter II Turbo.

Out of the three Street Fighter II versions now on the VC, this is certainly the most varied and accessible to newcomers. As a showcase for why people fawn at the feet of Street Fighter, it's got everything you need. So, if you haven't downloaded a previous version already, this is the one to choose - which makes you wonder why they didn't just offer this one first. Oh yeah, money. If you have downloaded a previous version, weigh up whether four new characters and gameplay tweaks is worth another 800 points.

8/10

Adventures of Lolo 2

  • Platform: NES
  • Wii Points: 500
  • In Real Money: GBP 3.75 / EUR 5.00

If releasing multiple versions of Street Fighter II is mildly annoying, this update is almost unfathomable. The original Adventures of Lolo, released last June, was a pleasant enough little block-shoving puzzler. "Not the sort of classic title that everyone should rush to own," I said in a rare moment of lucidity, "but certainly the sort of game you'll be glad to have to hand if you enjoy bite-sized strategic puzzling."

And that's equally true of the sequel, which is the exact same game.

OK, the actual puzzles are different, and a few sprite changes, but there's been absolutely no evolution to the gameplay. To my mind, this makes it more of an expansion pack than a game in its own right. If you're one of the three people who downloaded and completed the fifty levels in the original, this is worth having. If you got twenty levels into the first one and then got a bit bored, there's absolutely no reason to check this out.

But as it's the same as before, so the score remains the same. (Or would do, if I hadn't changed my mind at the last minute.)

6/10

Lords of Thunder

  • Platform: TurboDuo
  • Wii Points: 800
  • In Real Money: GBP 6.00 / EUR 8.00

Another scrolling shooter, another relatively obscure offering from the archives of the CD-powered TurboDuo. Lords of Thunder offers a fantasy setting rather than the expected sci-fi spaceships, and also has a few minor innovations that make it of interest to shoot-'em-up lovers. It's produced by the same team that created Gate of Thunder but, other than the name, has no obvious connection.

As with Gate of Thunder, the soundtrack is a highlight - the sort of insane instrumental fret-twiddler you'd expect to find in the higher tiers of Guitar Hero. So there's that. Headbanging is always fun. The game also livens things up by scrolling horizontally, vertically and even diagonally, which may sound like small potatoes today but was enough to distinguish it from most of its peers back in the day.

You can also choose which order to tackle the stages, much like Mega Man, and choose upgradeable elemental armour to keep you safe through the onslaught ahead. There's actually an impressive flexibility to the ways in which you can beef up your attacks and defences, which helps to balance out some otherwise predictable level design. Those who fear the brutality of old shoot-'em-ups should opt for the Water armour, since this makes the game quite easy.

If you're in the mood for a shooter, and have either tried all the others or don't fancy any of them, then Lords of Thunder is a great choice.

7/10

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Dan Whitehead avatar

Dan Whitehead

Contributor

Dan has been writing for Eurogamer since 2006 and specialises in RPGs, shooters and games for children. His bestest game ever is Julian Gollop's Chaos.

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