Virtual Console Wrap-up – 5/5 Releases

Hey there friends, we’re back with two new VC releases for you, Renegade from the NES and Pokémon Puzzle League from the N64…but who cares about that? My prayers have been answered and EarthBound has been rated by the ESRB! I don’t even care if it doesn’t come out for 2 years, it’s coming! WOOOOOO OMGWTFBBQASDFIOUQWERHVASDNJO!!!

Ahem.

Anyway, here’s what we think of the games actually being released this week!

pokemonpuzzleleague.jpg Pokémon Puzzle League
Genre: Puzzle
System: Nintendo 64
Release Date: 2000
Price: 1000 Wii Points

Alex Lucard: Pokémon Puzzle League is basically a souped up version of the old Tetris Blast but with more game modes and options. It is also the only Pokémon video game to feature the full anime voice acting crew. I prefer the GBA version known as Pokémon Puzzle Challenge for the RPG story mode, but PPL has excellent graphucs and is a highly addicting puzzle game. Even if you’re not a fan of Pokémon, the Team Rocket 3-D version of Tetris is one of the neatest versions of the game I’ve ever played.

Mark B.: Pokémon Puzzle League was a cute little puzzle game that was generally more impressive for the fact that it had FMV in a cartridge game than for the puzzle game itself. It’s basically a Pokémon themed Puzzle de Pon/Puzzle League, which again isn’t bad by any means; if you like the concept (think Columns), it’s neat, and if you like the Pokémon animated series it’s doubly so, but if not, there’s no reason to invest in it.

Charlie Marsh: Yawn. I mildly enjoy puzzle games, but this one just did nothing for me. And I was a Pokémon fan back in the day, but I never got in to this one.

Nathan Birch: It’s funny, both Sega and Nintendo pulled the same strategy nearly a decade apart. Both took one of their popular Japanese puzzle series (Puyo Puyo for Sega, Panel de Pon for Nintendo) and to make it appeal to American audiences they slapped a popular license on it and Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine and Pokémon Puzzle League were born. In both cases they also made the somewhat odd decision to use the cartoon version of these licenses for the games. Unfortunately for Sega the Sonic cartoon was terrible and as such Bean Machine is pretty much considered a joke today for featuring the ugly forgettable characters from the cartoon, while Pokémon Puzzle League on the other hand is fondly remembered since it was pretty much the only Pokémon game over here to feature Ash, Jesse, James and the cartoon gang. Poor ol’ Sega.

Anyways, this game was okay I guess, but it always felt very sterile to me…very much a “product” more than anything the developers put any passion into.

“Hey Johnson, we need another game to fill out the calendar…only 2 games came out on the N64 in the first 6 months of this year!”

“Hmmm, how about a Panel de Pon game sir? We can churn one of those out in a weekend.”

“Hey yeah, and we’ll slap some promotional art from the Pokémon cartoon on it. Glad I thought of it.”

Anyways, like I said, it’s a good game…but I’d say if you must play Panel de Pon/Puzzle League, buy the online capable DS version or wait for the new version that’ll come out on WiiWare (you know it’s going to happen).

renegade.jpg Renegade
Genre: Beat “Ëœem Up
System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Release Date: 1987
Price: 500 Wii Points

Alex Lucard: No one has ever liked this game, No one ever will.

Mark B.: Renegade was one of those games that’s historically significant but not “good” in the strictest sense of the term. It’s essentially 1.) the prototype for what would become Double Dragon, and 2.) a spiritual predecessor to River City Ransom, but unlike the former, it’s not all that fun or enjoyable (though it has its moments), and unlike the latter, it’s single-player only and shallow as a puddle in the Sahara. I’m glad someone’s dumping all those old Technos games out on the VC, but if we could maybe get Dodge Ball instead that’d be awesome kthx; Renegade, while an important relic, is still a relic, and really isn’t worth playing by anyone but those who care about historical significance.

Charlie Marsh: I don’t remember ever getting past the first screen in this game. While I was 4 the last time I played this, I never really tried to get past the first screen, since everything it does Double Dragon and River City Ransom did better. From reading up on the game, it doesn’t look like I missed much.

Nathan Birch: I got nothing…never played it, and by the comments so far it’s probably best I didn’t.

And Bryan Berg gets the last word in this week with: “Ah, fuck. Back to the ‘two crappy games in a week’ format, I see.” Just wait for EarthBound. Just wait.

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