Well, the games are a few weeks later then promised, but Samurai Shodown II and Ys I & II have finally hit the Virtual Console.
We were all a bit ticked off on August 4th when these two games, along with Mega Man were promised but well…we got something different. Some of us are still a bit sore about what transpired, but as for myself? I’ve already downloaded Ys and will be playing it as soon as I review Murder in the Abbey later this week. Well that and Disgaea 3. And My Chinese Coach. Well, I’ll play it sometime at least.
YS Books 1 & 2
Original Released On: Turbo Duo
Original Release Date 12/21/1989
Wii Points: 800
Chris Bowen: OK. I might be in the minority here. I might have some people laughing at me. I recognize this game is not for everyone, and that I’m in the minority.
That said, I’m so happy this game has made it to the VC that I could jump for joy.
If you like RPGs with a light, yet fresh story, simple play mechanics, and one of the best soundtracks you’ll ever hear, this is the game you want. Jump all over this. At least give it a look-see, to see if it’s your cup of tea; not everyone will like it, but you could be surprised.
I don’t recommend Ys to people that only look at the VC to play one of the mascot games; for you guys, this isn’t for you. But for anyone that grew up on RPGs – especially if you missed it the first time – I wholeheartedly and vehemently recommend these two games. Until Ys Complete comes out legally in America, this is the best you’re going to do.
Alexander Lucard: Prounounced YEES, Ys is one of the many reasons why the Turbo-Grafx 16 was the #2 console for me during the 16 bit era and the SNES was a distant lonely third. Game’s like Ys, Splatterhouse, It Came From the Desert, the Crush pinball games and the crapload of shooters made me love my precious Turbo Grafx and the Turbo Duo, which this two piece set would eventually appear on.
Adolf Christin remains one of the greatest RPG protagonists ever and I was gleeful when Ys VII hit the PS2 and PSP, even if I felt it was a step down from earlier games due to a complete and utter change in the gameplay style, graphical renditions and so on.
Ys was so popular, this particular compilation version we are getting was the pack in for the Turbo Duo and it was a literal system seller. This is your chance to lay your hands on a series that has sadly been overlooked by US gamers, but hopefully if this sells well, we can get Ys Tactics ported to the US for the DS. BUY THIS GAME DAMN YOU!
Chris Bowen: To hell with Ys Tactics, buy this game so we get Ys Origins and Oath of Felghana! C’mon, guys! Jump on this! You don’t know what you’re missing!
Bryan Berg: I remember being a kid and being completely obsessed with Ys 1+2. It was 1993, the summer before sixth grade, and I was the only person I knew who had a TurboDuo. I literally played this game the whole entire summer. I can’t say I remember a ton about the game except that it was hard, it had a great story, and it showed an anime girl’s naked breasts. Truly, a wonderful kick-start to puberty.
What a game. This is the kind of game I expect to find on Virtual Console – a treasured memory of my youth that I can play now and appreciate. It’s going to be interesting to see how it compares to the RPGs of today. I’m guessing it has aged extremely well.
Mark B: Y’s 1+2 are good times. I always remember the first game being a weird RPG with a design where you would bump into enemies to kill them, but after spending numerous hours learning how the game worked as a kid, I eventually figured it out, from the silly combat mechanics all the way to the weird puzzles in the final tower involving relics of various sorts, and the final boss battle was pretty awesome to boot. I even downloaded the game to my cellphone two years ago, and that too was pretty awesome, so I’m reasonably certain the VC version of the game should be doubly so, especially considering it’s both games in one package and all.
Nate Birch: Well the theme of this week seems to be “games everyone else seems to love, but do nothing for me.” First up, Ys I and II!
I never had this one in my collection since like most normal people I didn’t own a Turbografx, but my buddy did and make no mistake, presentation-wise this game was fantastic. Beautiful graphics, cool anime style cutscenes back when such a thing was a rarity and a fantastic soundtrack. So yeah, when you’re just wandering around towns or watching cutscenes this game is great, but when you actually have to play it? Intolerable.
I hate the stupid “bash into enemies, but not directly into them” battle system. I hate the constantly respawning enemies. I hate the bafflingly complex layout of the world and dungeons which when combined with the lack of maps ensure you spend about 80% of the time lost randomly bashing into incessantly respawning enemies. I even hate that stupid box the action is confined to. So yeah, not my game, but a lot of people love it, it’s fairly rare today and unless Nintendo pulls a fast one it’ll only cost 6 bucks so it’s worth a shot.
Samurai Shodown II
Original Released On: Neo*Geo
Original Release Date: 12/02/1994
Wii Points: 900
Alexander Lucard: Wow. Is this one of the best weeks on the VC ever or what? Samurai Shodown II is arguably not just the best fighter in this franchise, but it’s also often considered the best SNK game ever made, and is always listed alongside games like KoF ’98, SSSF2 and MK2 as the “Best fighting game ever” when those debates hit.
SamSho II is brightly coloured, amazingly fun to play, extremely bloodly for its day, and remains one of the biggest arcade hits of the early 1990’s. I still remember the lines in the arcade for this cabinet were longer than any other game in the building. There is a reason so many people went wild for this, and now it’s your chance to see why.
You can’t talk about the golden era of fighters without putting Samurai Shodown II as one of the all time greats, if not THE greatest. Personally, I’m still a KoF fan first and foremost but I can’t fault anyone when they say this is the best of all time because there is a good argument to be made for it.
Bryan Berg: The original Samurai Shodown was an important part of my plot to get my mom to buy me a Neo Geo during that same summer. The games themselves were well over $100, not to mention the cost of the system itself. Needless to say, it didn’t exactly go well. I’m looking forward to experiencing this one for the first time, as many say the sequel was better than the original.
Fred Badlissi: There are certainly titles that you play once and think “this is a damn good game.” Back when most arcade goers confined themselves to the Street Fighter/Mortal Kombat dichotomy of what was the best fighter around, some decided to take the Ross Perot – or, for contemporary flavor, Bob Barr – route and try the third party. While some may have believed they sabotaged the election, others found salvation: Samurai Shodown was awesome. And later, SNK brought forth an even better sequel. Titled “Shin Samurai Spirits” in Japan, Samurai Shodown II expanded on everything that made the first title such a classic.
I’d spend more time describing it, but I can only suspect that you’re reading this to either A) reaffirm already pre-conceived thoughts about it or B) ready to drop those sacred Wii Points and relive the nostalgia. So is it worth it? For those in the first group, yes. For those in the second group, read on…
While I believe it’s about damn time that Samurai Shodown II received a proper and legal non-Neo-Geo release in the US, (it only saw release on the PS2 in Japan as a combo with Part 1 in Samurai Spirits Fencing Pack) you’ll have to ask yourself whether you want to put down the points for a single game that will be part of the Samurai Shodown Anthology disc being released in the Fall. If you’re not a fan of any of the other Shodowns, then the price of admission might be worth it. But for those who can wait, you may want to skip this one.
Whatever your choice may be, Samurai Shodown II is a great addition to the Neo-Geo fighting stable.
Mark B: Samurai Shodown II features more characters than the first game, and as such, should be worth it for fans of SamShoI. It’s also not available anywhere else (yet), meaning fans of the franchise or fighting game fans in general can buy it without having to worry about getting it elsewhere (until the collected anthology comes out for the PS2). You pretty much need the classic controller to play it properly, but frankly, if you like fighting games, you should already own one anyway. Also, this marks the first (and I believe only) appearance of the ancient monk “Caffeine Nicotine”, who has since retired to spend his days badgering me about the fact that I’m not feeding those two same addictions twenty-four/seven. So you should probably download this game just because he’s in it, is what I’m getting at here.
Nate Birch: Now really, if you’ve been reading my VC opinions for the last few weeks you don’t even need to wonder if I have any interest in the latest Neo Geo kick and punch fest.
Chris Bowen: Whenever you’re done, Nintendo, let me know.
As you can see, we’re all pretty pumped about this week, as Ys 1 & II and SamSho II are a huge part of our happiest childhood gaming memories. You won’t want to miss either of these games, as they are awesome. It’s days like today that the Virtual Console was made for. It’s just too bad that Nintendo had to create such a controversy four weeks ago by not releasing them when they were supposed to.
Tags: Virtual Console