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Virtual Console Roundup

Firey Balls of Galaga.

After a few weeks ping-ponging up and down the quality scale, this week sees another solid selection hit the Virtual Console in the shape of two great titles that should tickle the retro glands of action lovers and adventure fiends alike. Oh, and there's also one load of old rubbish that should have been left to fester in the dustbin of history. Still, can't have everything, eh?

Breath of Fire II

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

One of the major advantages of the Virtual Console over Microsoft and Sony's rival download services is that it is, at the moment, the only one to really offer the big beefy steak dinner of gaming that an old-style RPG offers. Quite apart from the glowing majesty of the Zelda series, there are games on the VC that will take your paltry six quid and stretch it for weeks and weeks.

Now we have Capcom's well-regarded Breath of Fire II added to the service, and right from the off it's clear that this is no mere Link rip-off. There's ambition here, proper storytelling and a sense of grandeur that is immediately alluring. As the bombastic music rises to a crescendo, the black screen peels open to reveal a malevolent eye, which starts banging on about God. Cut to a flashback opening (in classy black and white, no less) and before you know it, you're swept along in the sort of melodramatic monster-strewn soap opera that only the greatest Japanese studios can conjure up.

OK, as Tom pointed out in the VC news update, the random battles can get tiresome, but such things come with the territory and shouldn't prevent you from throwing 800 points in the direction of a beautifully crafted and impeccably produced adventure.