Nintendo Download Wrap-Up for January 25th, 2010
by Christopher Bowen on January 25, 2010

Predicting the quality of these weekly wrap-ups is senseless. Nintendo’s last couple updates have been very good, with last week’s being outstanding. This has happened in the past, and usually been followed up by bad weeks.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to a bad week.

It’s entirely possible Nintendo blew their proverbial load by releasing Muscle March, Dark Void Zero and Shadow Dancer in the same week. Last week was great, and the prior week was very good as well. Unfortunately, this week, we have no real marquee titles, and one notably poor choice.

Ghoul Patrol
Developer: LucasArts/Unknown Third Party
Publisher: LucasArts
Original System: Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Original Release Date: 1994
Price: 800 Wii Points/$8

Alexander Lucard: This is the sequel to Zombies Ate My Neighbors. I was disappointed that this game was a SNES exclusive after reviewers in the early 90’s almost unanimously deemed the Genesis version of its predecessor to be superior.

I should point out although this is a Lucasarts game, this was actually made by a third party developer that licensed the Zombies Ate My Neighbors cast and crew because their creative department was stuck with what to do with this half finished game. As such, this game is very different. Instead of being a top down run and gun shooter, this had a side scrolling feel to it and instead of shooting with abandon, you had limited ammo and resources.

On one hand I want to say that this wasn’t a very good game back in 1994 and there are better ways to spend your eight bucks. On the other, giving people the opportunity to play obscure or forgotten games is what the Virtual Console should be about, so let’s call it a push.

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Mark B.: Ghoul Patrol isn’t as good as its predecessor, Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Let’s get that out of the way up front. The gameplay is similar, but the personality of the original game simply isn’t there, and while Zombies Ate My Neighbors was a fun game to play, that wasn’t the sole selling point of the product. The game was full of Lucasarts charm, back when Lucasarts HAD charm to put in their games, and Ghoul Patrol simply doesn’t have that. It’s a sequel in name and mechanics only, and lacks the execution and design that made the first game a cult classic.

That said, Ghoul Patrol is also plenty of fun on its own merits. It’s similar to Fester’s Quest, or for those who have no idea what that means, a more involved Gauntlet. You run around, save people, collect gear and kill monsters, and the product is actually pretty amusing when not compared to its predecessor. As an eight dollar download, it’s a fun game you probably haven’t played, and while it’s disappointing when compared to Zombies Are My Neighbors, it’s a better game than any of the Star Wars games Lucasarts developed. You heard me.

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On the WiiWare, the marquee title is also the worst one. I don’t know what the hell is making companies decide now to shove Uno down our throats, but we now have an inferior version (when compared to the XBox Live version) of Uno on WiiWare, which is good for completionists that absolutely *have* to own Uno on all three systems or who only have a Wii. Shamefully, this is a $10 game. That is $5 more than the three and a half year old XBox Live version, and $2 more than the PSN version, which is funny because not only is this the same game as that on the PSN (read: not the better version), the online play is even more borked because of Nintendo’s terrible reliance on Friend Codes. The only benefit is the ability to use your Miis as an avatar, which I assume is key to a very small group of people. The only way I can recommend this title is if you only have a Wii and don’t have any intention of purchasing the other two consoles. Even then, I would wait for that price to come down a bit.

There are two other games on the service, one of which has some promise for puzzle fans. bittos+ is a puzzle game that takes Tetris pieces and puts them to an open field where the goal is to make large boxes in multiple game modes. bittos+ goes for $8, and thankfully, we received a review copy and should have a full review within a week or so. Finally, there’s “Aha! I Found It!” Hidden Object Game, a $5 that is exactly what the title says.

On DSiWare, we have Escapee GO!, a $2 maze game that casts you as a person with no memories being hunted for an unknown reason. It plays like Maze Craze with a limited viewpoint and some limited psychic powers that can help your character get out of tight jams. For the price, it looks like it could be worth a spin. AiRace: Tunnel is another $2 game that pits you as a pilot flying an aeroplane through a wind tunnel with moving objects. If the controls hold up, that could be an enjoyable purchase. Finally, there is NUMBER BATTLE, a $5 board game from Japan that uses numbered tiles. I can’t really get many details on how the game actually plays at this point, but at $5, I would see if there’s a playable demo before shelling out such a high price for yet another puzzle game.

Overall, this is a pretty weak update. Ghoul Patrol is decent, but probably not worth $8. Everything else vacillates from mildly interesting to outright insulting. At least those that bought Dark Void Zero or Muscle March last week will likely still be entertained by them, making this week’s update less annoying to take.

Until next time, this is Christopher Bowen, who is currently writing his “Dark Void Zero for WiiWare” petition.



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