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Virtual Console Roundup

This week's efforts and some from the archive. Two 10s. Yep.


Platform: Megadrive
Wii Points: 800

It's funny. Most people remember the '80s as being the gaudy, hollow decade of style before substance, but the 1990s managed to be just as awful but without even the decency to wear legwarmers.

It was the decade when summer blockbusters hit their nadir with Godzilla, Batman & Robin and The Avengers. The decade when the comic book industry vanished into a haze of outrageously proportioned muscles and limited edition embossed foil covers. And as for games...how could we forget the horrors unleashed in pursuit of the unholy trinity of FMV, VR and CGI?

Vectorman isn't as bad as Rise of the Robots or Night Trap, but the title still betrays its obsession with a now outdated graphical effect over any sort of carefully crafted gameplay, the gimmick in this case being pre-rendered CG models rather than sprites. But what looked impossibly futuristic in 1995 isn't all that special over ten years later, and the game just doesn't have enough meat on its bones to overcome the loss of its selling point.

You're left with a rather plodding platformer, a bit like a duller, slower version of Strider with the athletic Soviet rebel replaced by a robot made of green balls. You can power up your weapon, and transform into different shapes, but there's nothing here that isn't done better in other games on the VC. It's not a bad game, as such, it's just a rather pointless title to revive for today's gamers.



Platform: TurboGrafx 16
Wii Points: 600

Yeesh. The old top-down racing game has served us well over the years - from Super Off-Road to Micro Machines, it's an accessible sub-genre that even the most dedicated petrolhead can see the fun in. This must make Motoroader the exception that proves the rule.

Blighted by a truly painful control system, you inch around some bland tracks, changing direction sometimes by steering in the direction relative to where your car is pointing (i.e. as you go down the screen left and right are reversed) but sometimes, apparently, by steering in the direction relative to the screen. So if you're headed left to right, and want to steer up, you press up rather than left. Baffled? Amazingly, it's even more confusing in practice.

What this means is that you often veer off the track, and fall prey to the catch-up system - because even in single-player mode the game follows the lead car, not the one you're controlling. As you get left behind, a blue circle drags you back to the rest of the pack - but leaves you facing in whichever direction you were when it picked you up. Which, needless to say, is often not the way you want to be going.

And on top of all that, the game is slower than snail with a very casual attitude to punctuality. You can earn money to improve your car, but even doubling the engine size still leaves your car groaning around the track rather than rocketing. With so many great TG16 games worthy of rediscovery, it's a little strange that this one has escaped from the dungeon.


The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Platform: N64
Wii Points: 1000

One of the strongest arguments for buying the Wii is that it allows you to play the Zelda saga, from NES through SNES and N64 up to Twilight Princess. That's a lot of gaming, all accessible from one plinky-plonky menu. And, let's be honest, that's a lot of really bloody great gaming to boot.

Ocarina of Time found Link bursting into glorious 3D life and, while I'd never be so shallow as to suggest that snazzy graphics are enough to automatically make it an improvement over Link to the Past, the move to three dimensions offers more than just eye candy. It fleshes out the world of Hyrule, opens up whole new avenues of exploration and sucks you into its fantasy world in a way that even the best-crafted 2D game could never accomplish. It also does things with this environment that other games would take years to get around to. Compare the sheer wealth of movement and combat options available to Link with Lara's initial stumbles around empty caverns, taking pot shots at wandering wolves. No contest.

It also works hand in hand with Mario 64 to showcase just what a showman Miyamoto could be. The opening journey through Kokiri Forest to Link's house, all viewed from the point of view of Navi the fairy, is an absolute masterclass in how to set a scene with charm and elegance. Not only does it show off the 3D graphics, it teases you with possibilities - you're going to be free to explore this world in a moment, the game whispers in your ear. The sexy little tease.

So, once again, the sparse N64 offerings on the VC still prove to be the best reason to invest in Wii Points. If you download The Legend of Zelda, Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time you'll have spent around twenty of your real world English pounds, and have three absolutely seminal games that will last you for months. By which time there might be some new Wii games worth buying in the shops. Ho ho!


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Dan Whitehead avatar

Dan Whitehead


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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