Nintendo Download Wrap-Up for January 11th, 2010

Well, here we are with the weekly slew of Nintendo downloads. Only one release for this week on the Virtual Console, and it’s… well, not a very big one, and it may seem like a letdown after last week’s Final Fight 3. But let’s see what the staff has to say about it…

Shanghai® II
Developer: Activision
Publisher: Activision
Original System: Sega Genesis
Original Release Date: 06/01/1994
Price: 800 Points/$8

Chris Bowen: Is this a joke? Solitaire Mahjong? With a sloppy Genesis control scheme? For $8?

Developers liked to shove PC games onto consoles back into the 90s; it didn’t really work well. Instead of a mouse, you’re using your controller – never optimal – and the start menu brings up a window menu that makes me think that Shanghai II was ported off of OS/6. Furthermore, there’s an annoying lag whenever you remove tiles that slows the game down.

I’ll save you eight bucks, with one of two steps:

1) Play Mahjong in a browser; a quick Google search pulls up a few good sites, but I was playing at Mahjonged; you don’t need to sign up, or enable “quick loading”, just play.

2) If you’re a Linux user like I am, in most Debian-based builds that I can think of, there are a few good versions of Mahjong in the repositories. They’re free, and play better than this does.

I cannot recommend passing on this enough. Save your money.

Now that I think about it? This seems like something Nintendo threw up so as not to compete with Phoenix Wright. “Ah, screw it, everyone’s going to want Phoenix Wright, we’ll give them the crappy Mahjong game, any moron that buys it is bonus money for us”.

Regardless of the reason, this is an awful game, and not worth $2, let alone $8.

Mark B.: So, uh. Shanghai II, huh? Okay… well, uh. Mahjong is fun. Eight dollars for a mahjong game isn’t too bad, I guess. The animations when you remove the tiles are cute, so I guess that’s something? I… I got nothing.

Look, this game is a sniveling little release, okay? If you’re reading this, CONGRATULATION, you can play this online for free. Mahjong is one of the easiest free games to find on ANY operating system, either online or as a full downloadable game, and pretty much any game you find is going to be more fun than this. This game is slow, sloppy, choppy and takes forever because of the slow and choppy animations when you remove tiles. If this were, say, an updated Wii release with motion control compatibility it might be worth a look, but as a nearly two decade old console mahjong game, this is terrible and you’d be better off wiping your ass with eight dollars before you spent it on this.

Aileen Coe: Yeah… no. I suppose no one can hit home runs every week, but still, this is pretty weak especially in comparison to last week’s release. I like mahjong as much as the next person, but there’s a number of ways to play it for free. Here, I’ll even lay it out with a simple equation:

Awkward controls + costing eight bucks + a lack of anything setting this apart from other versions of mahjong out there = pass.

I believe that says it all.

The WiiWare service got a big release in the form of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. This release contains the first four cases in the first game, and the fifth case will be a separate release. A few staffers had some things to say about it:

Aaron Sirois: Being able to buy this game for a mere ten dollars when it is still fairly hard to find for the DS would seem like a great idea. The problem is that the bonus case that was on all US copies of the game is not included in this package. You’ll have to buy it later. It’s only going to be a dollar or so, but still. If you can get past that, the game is an absolute must have if you haven’t already played it. Ever since I got my DS, I’ve been playing the original trilogy once a year, and if I had a Wii, I’d probably buy them again so I could experience them with the new presentation and waggle controls. At the very least, everyone should experience Manfred Von Karma at least once.

Mark B.: I don’t get the point of releasing a WiiWare version of Phoenix Wright, both because you can still find the DS game if you look around, and because the franchise just doesn’t seem like something that’s going to translate exceptionally well to the Wii (though it DID work for Trauma Center), but okay, fine. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is available on WiiWare, and presumably it’s similar to the DS game, so it’s probably worth buying if you never played it and like adventure games. The characters are memorable, there are plenty of twists and turns to the story, and the gameplay is generally well executed. As a ten dollar game, it’s pretty much worth the asking price if you’ve never seen it. On the other hand, if I’m reading the descriptions of the game right, it may be lacking the fifth case from the DS game, and if you’ve already played the game there’s absolutely no reason to play this particular version of it. If you’re playing this for the first time, I’d recommend giving it a look, but I can’t imagine anyone who owns the DS game buying Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney for WiiWare, and this is a game you’re going to beat and pretty much never play again.

Aileen Coe: I have mixed feelings about the exclusion of the fifth case and fail to see why it could not have been included as well, but then again, the original GBA version only had four cases anyway, so at least you’re not left at a cliffhanger if you only buy this release. On the other hand, you’d be missing out on arguably one of the most epic cases with one of the most insidious antagonists in the series. Of course, I’d also never object to more Phoenix Wright in any form, so yay for more releases in the series. If you’ve got a copy of the DS version, this is identical except for the omission of the fifth case and of course being able to wave your Wiimote in the appropriate gesture (no, not the one involving flipping) while presenting evidence or raising an objection. For those who missed out on the DS version, however, $10 ($11 if you buy the last case as well) is a bargain compared to how much the DS version is going for in some places (as high as over $100) nowadays.

In addition, there’s also Chronos Twins DX, a platformer wherein you control one soldier in two different places in time, which goes for 1000 points. It should be familiar to those who have played the DS iteration (which was never released in the US, so I imagine not many). Finally, Shadowplay is a puzzle game that involves using various objects to create shadows of other objects and costs 800 points. While the concept is somewhat interesting, the price seems a bit steep considering how saturated the puzzle genre is.

On the DSiWare front, there’s Touch Solitaire for 200 points, which is solitaire using the touch screen controls; Jazzy Billiards for 500 points, which is, well, billiards with what I assume to be jazzy music playing in the background; and Word Searcher for 500 points, which are just like the puzzles you’d find in a newspaper or any number of puzzle books, only in digital form. In short, the titles pretty much speak for themselves and again, have versions you can play for free strewn all over the internet.

Well, that wraps it up for this week. See you all same time next week!



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