Virtual Console Wrap-up – 11/9

Welcome to another week of the VC Wrap-up here at DHGF. This week, we have an interesting mix of games: Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap from the Master System and Cybernoid from the Commodore 64. Let’s see what DHGF has to say about these!

Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Original Release Date: 1989
Cost: 500 Wii Points

Christopher Bowen: This is an inferior version of a mediocre game that is already on the system. If you really liked either Wonder Boy 3 or Dragon’s Curse, I recommend the latter – even at $1 more – which is better in every way, shape and form, be it graphics, sound, or the fact that it has a full save system instead of just a password. Maybe Mark B. – our Master System expert – could tell us if I’m wrong or not as I’m not as familiar with the MS version as I am the PC Engine version, but this looks like an easy pass to me.

Mark B. First, Wonder Boy III is, I always thought, an interesting game that, while it didn’t amuse me as much as its predecessor, is essentially better in every way that matters. It’s more involved, more expansive, and generally more fun all in all, but for whatever reason I just didn’t feel the same about it as I did the prior game. Frankly, though, it’s a pretty neat game, and you can kind of look at it as Sega’s answer to Simon’s Quest, between the whole “bad guy from the last game curses you at the end” concept to the free access environments where the player makes progress Metroid style, by acquiring new upgrades (animal forms in this case) to progress to new areas. The game is goofy as hell, too, and it’s an amazingly charming game all around, even something like two decades after the fact.

Regarding the availability of Dragon’s Curse on the VC already, well, I wouldn’t call Dragon’s Curse a drastic improvement over Wonder Boy III, but it looks and sounds a little nicer, I’ll agree with that part. However, this is something of a reverse of what happened when Sega released Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair on the VC, as this time around the Sega release is cheaper than the T-16 release. Further, unlike the Monster Lair situation, the games are far closer technologically this time around; the music is not significantly improved from one release to the next, and while the sprites in Dragon’s Curse are redrawn, they’re not significantly better, nor are the environments. Basically, if you already downloaded Dragon’s Curse there’s no reason to download this, but if you have yet to download either game (and you should, I think), Wonder Boy III is cheaper and there aren’t enough differences to make Dragon’s Curse worth the price difference.

Cybernoid
Developer: Raffaele Cecco
Publisher: Hewson Consultants
Original Release Date: 1987
Cost: 500 Wii Points

Charlie Marsh: This is a unique little shooter…it combines aspects of a puzzle game in with shooting alien spaceships. Instead of just blasting your way to the end of the level, you have to navigate your ship around a sort of maze, and instead of being able to control your ship, it is constantly moving downward, in some cases causing you to stop and scope out the terrain before you make your next move. It’s cheap and fun, but pretty darn tough, too, as when you die (and you will, a lot), you often get dropped right back in the middle of swarming enemies, so get ready for a challenge if you spring for it.

Wii Ware selections this week include updated versions of Excitebike and Frogger for 1000 and 500 points, respectively, along with Dragon Master Spell Caster, a kind of dragon-fighting fantasy adventure game for 500 points.

We’ll see you next week!

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