Virtual Console Wrap Up for 09/01

Another week, another hit-and-miss VC selection with the release of Clu Clu Land and Super Mario RPG. One is a generally marginally known puzzle game for the NES, the other is a Squaresoft RPG featuring a well-known Nintendo icon that’s generally considered to be a pretty good game for the SNES. We’ll let you figure out which is which.

Clu Clu Land
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Original Released On: Nintendo Entertainment System
Original Release Date 10/1985
Wii Points: 500

Alex Lucard: Never a fan as a kid, never a fan when it was an e-card game. There are far better NES games for the VC. Huge pass here.

Charlie Marsh: Well at least it’s not a crappy Neo-Geo fighting game.

Guy Desmarais: It’s fun for five minutes.

Danny Cox: I’d enjoy it more if I didn’t have thumbs!

Chris Bowen: For such a short little game that’s available everywhere from the old E-Reader cards to as unlockables in Animal Crossing, I can’t see the need to spend $5 on this. It’s cute, it’s fun, then five minutes later, you’re done. This was the case when the game was new in 1985, and it’s the case now.

Nathan Birch: This one gets kind of a bad rap (it’s often listed by people of a rare example of a bad 1st party Nintendo game), but I don’t think it’s terrible. It’s actually a pretty fun little Pac Man-esque arcade game. Problem is it was dated pretty much from the day it came out, as it was basically the last simple arcade game Nintendo made before moving onto bigger and better things with Super Mario, Zelda and Metroid. Mildly recommended for 5 bucks.

Mark B.: I never really understood the whole idea behind Clu Clu Land; you were a blob trying to smash enemies, run over fruit and set off diamonds by hooking posts to turn? This makes Katamari Damacy look like it makes sense. Anyway, I didn’t play this until about ten years after it came out, so I never understood what the point was, though for five dollars, it’s probably not bad if you’re willing to really figure out how it works and all. It’s kinda awkward to play, though.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Developer: Squaresoft
Publisher: Nintendo
Original Released On: Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Original Release Date 05/13/1996
Wii Points: 800

Alex Lucard: I’ll never understand the love for this. It’s mediocre at best but because it uses the Mario characters and was developed by Squaresoft, it has a crazy level of fan boy jizmoglobin for it. It’s not an awful RPG, but it’s nowhere near the best game in its genre for the SNES. OF course, Shadowrun will never be out for the VC, so if you’re in need of a 16 bit RPG that isn’t Ys or Shining Force this is probably your best bet on the VC right now.

Charlie Marsh: Is it the best? Not at all. Is it good? Hell yes! Who cares if there are better games out there, SMRPG is awesome. I love the music, the characters, the mini games, the references to other games…it’s just fun! Now I just have to figure out how to get my Wii to connect to the internet here at school and I’ll be all set.

Guy Desmarais: If you’re a big RPG player like Lucard, you probably won’t care for this game. However, I am not a big fan of RPGs. I’m more of a casual RPG player. Super Mario RPG takes a genre that I often find too tedious and simplifies it, then blends it with platforming challenges, interesting sidequests and minigames and sets it in a universe I love. Of course I will be downloading this one. While it might not be the best of its genre, it’s easily the best blend of RPG, platforming and Mushroom Kingdom I have ever played. It even edges out Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. It’s genuinely fun and filled with laugh-out-loud moments. I love the music so much in that one that when I was young, I made my own soundtrack by visiting each area for about 5 minutes without touching the controller and recording the whole thing on a cassette. Give it a try. You can hold me responsible if you don’t like it.

Danny Cox: The appeal to this game is odd and the cult following is extremely unique for a game that really isn’t the greatest of all time or anything. But I’ll admit that for some strange reason I am obsessed with it. As a kid, I played it non-stop and somewhere along the way, my copy of it got lost or was probably stolen by one of my “friends.” Never willing to shell out an extra $50 or so bucks wherever I could find a copy in the past couple years, this is a Godsend for me. It will bring back some fond memories and I am seriously ecstatic to see this game released…yet I have no idea why.

Chris Bowen: No, it’s not bloody Shadowrun. It doesn’t HAVE to be. Taken on it’s own accord, it’s a great little story with some novel play mechanics. It’s somewhat easy as far as RPGs go, but if you like the Mario universe or have good memories of this game, don’t want to pay the currently high prices for the actual cartridge, and can put aside any elitist streaks, this is a worthy purchase.

Nathan Birch: Well here we go, the 2nd most rabidly demanded game for the VC (after Earthbound of course) finally arrives. To my fine fellow Gamefan writers baffled by the popularity of this game, let me explain it as simply as possible…IT’S FUN. No it doesn’t have an epic storyline or overly complex battle system, nor should it. It’s Mario; accessibility and simplicity is what the series is built on. What it lacks in an epic heart-rending story, it makes up for in balance, a brisk pace and variety. Personally I actually liked some of the later Mario RPGs more (Mario and Luigi for the GBA, Paper Mario) but this is without a doubt worth 8 bucks.

Bryan Berg: What makes this game so great? I have no f’ing idea. It just is. It’s fun, cute, and not all that challenging, which makes for an enjoyable and breezy gameplaying experience. There’s also a lot of hidden stuff that adds to the replay value. Add in the fact that this was released in the dying days of the SNES – the best system EVER – and you’ve got a winner well worth 800 Wii points.

Mark B.: Personally, I think Super Mario RPG is one of those sort of RPG’s that best appeals to people who don’t know or like RPG’s, in the same way that Final Fantasy Mystic Quest did. It’s an adorable little game taken on its own merits, and if you’ve never really spent any time with RPG’s to speak of, it’s pretty simple and enjoyable in that context. Having said that, the Paper Mario games beat the unmerciful crap out of this on every possible level, so if you’ve never played ANY Mario RPG’s, one of those would be a better investment, and with one on the VC already and the other available as a Gamecube game, they’d be simple enough to get. Of course, if you’re cheap or played them already, this one’s still pretty amusing, and not at all “bad” so much as “simple”.

Well, we’ve got some pretty divergent opinions this week, with people defending and assaulting both of the new releases this week. Either one might be worth your time, either one might entertain you for a bit but leave you unfulfilled. Here’s hoping next week’s offerings are a little more universally beloved, and not a little less.

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