Virtual Console Wrap Up – 4/21 Releases

Oh man oh man oh man, something good on the VC! Something long anticipated! Oh, thank heavens! This week, we’re getting River City Ransom from the NES and Phantasy Star III. Let’s hear some more about them.

rcrbox.jpgRiver City Ransom
Genre: Beat ’em Up
System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Release Date: 1989
Price: 500 Wii Points

Mark B.: Now, see, that’s what I’m talking about. Super-deformed beat-em-ups with RPG elements and a whole mess of fun gameplay? You could not possibly keep me away. This is one of the greatest 8-bit beat-em-ups ever made, Acro-Circus is one of the greatest attacks in any game ever, and Alex and Ryan deserve a sequel sometime in this lifetime. Buy this.

M.L. Kennedy: River City Ransom is BEARAWESOME. I played this game all the time when I was 8, and it holds a huge nostalgia factor with me. It’s a side-scrolling beat -em up where a) you can buy upgrades to your character, b) you have to pay attention to the story in order to beat the game, and c) you can have your character get naked in a sauna. The Gameboy version is broken, so this is probably the best way to buy the game.

Guy Desmarais: River City Ransom was one of the greatest reasons to own a NES during its original release. It’s one of the games I have been waiting for ever since the Virtual Console was announced, and to finally see it on the service makes me want to shed hot tears of delightful joy. I’ve played many games where I got to beat up baddies over the years, but I don’t think any of them ever came close to RCR, with the possible exception of Turtles in Time, which I am still waiting for. In short, if you have ever taken pleasure in virtually punching someone in the face, then that’s it, stop thinking about it and buy the game.

Bryan Berg: River City Ransom was one of the most important games of my childhood. I never beat it, but I loved playing it almost daily. It was just fun – it wasn’t the most pretty game, it didn’t have the best sound or gameplay, but it just did it for me. And it did it for a ton of other gamers as well. I don’t know how well it’ll hold up now, but I’m going to be finding out on Monday.

Christopher Bowen: Each system has a few “elite” games, the kind of games that gamers ask “where are games like ________” whenever they have bullshit like Spelunker and Star Soldier. This is one of those games. Simply put, not only is this game brilliant, but so are the reset of the Kunio Kun games, and this is my highest recommendation to buy, especially to see if Nintendo gets off their asses and releases the other games, including the ones that didn’t make it out of Japan.

Alex Lucard: Thank God this is on the Wii. Pretty much every longtime fan of the game lambasted the remake for being an unbalanced buggy medicore throw away game that changed everything we loved about the game. I remember all of us back in the 411 days going on on the remake and how this was Atlus’s first fuck up since the Kliq formed. The remake recieved a 5.5 from me and you can read that review here: http://diehardgamefan.com/2004/06/07/6412/

Phantasy Star 3Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
Genre: RPG
System: Sega Genesis
Release Date: 1991
Price: 800 Wii Points

Mark B.: A quandry. On one hand, I don’t think Phantasy Star III deserves anywhere the amount of flack it’s received over the years. It’s absolutely not a “Phantasy Star” game so to say (though it’s been ret-conned into the franchise history quite nicely, and I give Sega credit for that), and isn’t really the sort of game that should bear the name brand, but it’s not BAD. On the other hand, you remember that American produced Metal Gear game on the NES back in the 80’s? The one where the big boss was named Highrollah Cockamamie? PS3 feels kind of a lot like that. It’s not BAD, but it’s not anything you’re missing out on by not playing it, either: if it didn’t have the PS3 name on it, it wouldn’t be reviled by so many people… but it probably wouldn’t be remembered either.

Christopher Bowen: Like Alex, I am very fond of this game, despite the reputation it’s gathered over the years. Yes, the story’s connections to Phantasy Star I and II are dubious, and yes, things pretty much fall apart near the end, but a lot of the things this game tried back then were novel, and most of them worked well, most important of them the three generation system; yes, your children fight on after you, and the story – and the characters themselves – change with your decisions. PSIII is listed as the weakest game in the series because the story didn’t have much to do with the actions in either of the first two games, and that is true; as I stated before, it’s more or less it’s own game, and the connections between the games are held together with Silly String. However, it’s an outstanding RPG in it’s own right. I fully recommend this to any JRPG fans who do now own a PS2 or PSP (those that do should pick up the Genesis Collection instead, which is $20 and also comes with PS4, along with other Genesis games to boot).

Alex Lucard: As a standalone game, not only is Generations of Doom a good game, but it was highly revolutionary. It was the first real RPG to offer a diverging plotline with multiple playable characters over literally three generations of a world’s life. The graphics were a huge leap in quality from the classic Phantasy Star II and the story holds up on its own, even if it had nothing to do with the earlier PS games until the nicely done Sega retcon. I reviewed PS3 as part of the GBA Phantasy Star Collection and it received a 7/10 from me. Half a point higher than PS1. (This is because the GBA version of PS1 had a game crashing bug that destroyed your saves if you did this one particular oops.) I would recommend this game if you don’t already have one of the many ports of the game already. You can find it for the GBA, PS2 and PSP. There are also better Genesis RPG’s on the Virtual Console to choose from like Shining Force and Sword of Vermillion, but PS3 is still worth playing.

And there you go. Personally, I don’t know much about River City Ransom, and I wasn’t much impressed with Phantasy Star III, but then again I’m not impressed with too many RPG’s not named EarthBound, so maybe you should try it for yourself.

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