Last week, we derided what was a relatively lackluster week for the Virtual Console, with only one release for the system, that being the somewhat weak Super Turrican 2. Then we heard that Europe ended up getting Shining Force II, which led to a delightfully snarky AIM conversation between Lucard and myself that I wish I’d saved. We basically predicted we’d get SFII in a month, whereas this week we’d get another form of Sonic The Hedgehog. It turned out that we were actually supposed to get Gradius II (which has never been released in America, save on the PSP compilation), and an obscure boxing title.
Turns out, to use wrestling parlance, we were swerved. But someone must have gagged Vince Russo and locked him in a closet, because this one works perfectly. Come with us, as we dive into Camelot Week on the Virtual Console!
System: Nintendo 64
Original Release Date: July 30, 1999
Price: 1000 Wii Points
Alex Lucard: Not to be a negative nancy, but I am neither a fan of golf nor Mario games, so this game holds no interest for me. That being said, like the other game released today, this is a Camelot title and Camelot tend to make very solid titles that are colourful, fun and with excellent gameplay. So if you are a fan of either Mario or hitting balls with a long shaft, then this might be worth your ten dollars.
Guy Desmarais: While the Gamecube version is indeed better, I have found that in my attempts to acquire it, it has become pretty rare on the used market as everyone with a copy tends to hold on to it. In the meantime, we have here the N64 version, which is pretty much the same thing, only with a little bit less content. However, what it lacks in depth is more than compensated by the greatest thing to hit Mario’s universe since go-karts: MINI-GOLF! Yes, Mario Golf 64 is home to a great mini-golf mode which is probably the best one I have ever played. It beats the other video games renditions of mini-golf I have tried quite easily and the mode itself could have been a budget title on its own. Last but not least, the game includes a taunt button which can be used while it is NOT your turn to play, so you can use it to annoy your friends just like that character with the fisherman’s hat in Happy Gilmore. You probably remember who I am talking about. It was pretty annoying, right? Now imagine the same thing, but with Wario’s nasal voice. It doesn’t get much better than this when it comes to golf. Well, yes it does. But not on the N64.
Christopher Bowen: Yeah, the Gamecube version is better.
It’s also $25 at Gamestop, last I checked.
This is a fantastic game of Golf for anyone that likes Mario, OR golf; take it from the person that dinged Tiger, this is a more solid game of golf than people give it credit for. And a $10 price point is very, very nice for what is really a surprisingly deep game of golf with a good amount of content.
I recommend this title.
Shining Force II
System: Sega Genesis
Original Release Date: October 20, 1994
Price: 800 Wii Points
Alex Lucard: ABOUT. FUCKING. TIME.
Seriously, SFII is widely considered the best game not only in the Shining series, but the best tactical RPG ever made. This is mainly because the game did things back in the 16 bit era most SRPG’s are just doing now. Hidden characters, unlockable classes, post game missions and battles. A plot that is more than just “Boy saves world from monsters.” You had betrayals on both sides, love rectangles, ninja rats, baby Gamera, human chess games (literally), and so much more. Bebito listed it as his best game ever and I put SF2 as the #3 RPG pf all time. Considering #1 and #2 will never be on the Virtual Console, this means as of October 6th, you now have the best possible RPG that will ever be released in this fashion so you should probably go out and get it.
I would have preferred that the game was released on the VC on 10/20, as it would have been the game’s 14th birthday, but hey, beggers can be chosers.
To get an in-depth look at just why this game is one of the most beloved SRPG’s of all time, I suggest going to Shining Force Central’s Ultimate SF2 Guide and basking in its glory.
Of course, now my problem is wondering what else could come out for the VC from now on that I’ll still want to get. I’d love Shadowrun but it will never happen. I’d love for SNK to put out Garou: Mark of the Wovles or the NES Baseball Stars, but I guess we have to go through a ton of their crappier games to get the good stuff.
I’m still marking out over this. Shining Force II. Sweet. And heads up kids, use your classic controller as the ultimate code of awesomness still works.
Christopher Bowen: A lot has been made about Shining Force vs. Fire Emblem on this site, with the Fire Emblem camp (me) getting drowned out by the Shining Force camp (everyone else).
Truth is, there’s no “better” or “worse”. They’re both incredible in their own ways. And Shining Force II is still one of the best SRPGs of all time. Not “of the era”. Not “for fans”. Of all time. This, combined with the first game, is the kind of game that gets people into SRPGs. It’s got a great story, great characters, it’s well balanced, and isn’t as horribly hard as my beloved Fire Emblem, making it more accessible for people that might not be intuitive with strategy games.
I cannot give a higher recommendation to Shining Force II. This should be an instant purchase.
Incredible week. Absolutely stunning. Though your mileage with Mario Golf might vary, Shining Force II is an absolute classic, and arguably the greatest SRPG of all time. Seriously, if you’re still reading this, and aren’t downloading at least SF II… what’s taking so long?
Until next week, this is Chris Bowen, wishing good night, and good luck.