In the two plus years that we’ve been doing these wrap-ups, whether just for the Virtual Console or for the entire service, just about every article has had a lot of comments about whatever the Virtual Console has put out. When we started profiling the other downloadable titles on the WiiWare and DSiWare, most of them only got as many comments as the article’s writer gave; most of the attention went to the VC game, as that’s what we know.
This week sets a precedent: despite a big-name VC release, it’s the first time we’ve had many more responses to a WiiWare title than we have for a Virtual Console title. In fact, we had one response for the VC game, and that one comes from me only because I’m writing the piece and don’t want to screw up my formatting.
Again, that might be surprising considering the name of the game, but then again, maybe we’re all just fatigued by the franchise…
Sonic & Knuckles
Original System: Sega Genesis
Original Release Date: October 17th, 1994 (NA)
Price: 800 Wii Points/$8
Christopher Bowen: Well, when it comes to milking and whoring out their old franchises, Sega can’t be accused of half-assing it. They’re completionists!
Sonic & Knuckles itself was an OK game. It played very similar to Sonic 3, only with the addition of Knuckles as a good guy, in the start of the unfortunate trend of bringing the focus of Sonic games away from Sonic himself. But what made it stand out was that it supported lock-on technology that made Knuckles a playable character in Sonic 2 + 3. The best part of the VC port is that it supports the lock-on technology for anyone that owns the other versions of Sonic already, meaning you can play the VC Sonic 2 with Knuckles if you want.
That sounds like a great deal, but anyone who knows me know can sense the gigantic “BUT” coming, and here it is. For one, this isn’t new technology. The first emulation of the lock-on technology was put into Sonic Jam, which was released only fourteen years ago. While I realize that most people cannot play Sonic Jam anymore, anyone with a Wii can play the Sonic Mega Collection, which is available right now on eBay for literally under $10. If you own a PS2, Sonic Mega Collection + is also available for about the same price, and comes with extra games as well. In short, it’s laughably easy to find a compilation that has more than what the Virtual Console is offering in terms of what works with Sonic & Knuckles – three games – at under half the price.
In short, if you bought Sonic 2 + 3 for the Virtual Console for a combined $16, you already got taken for a ride, so what’s another $8, if only to justify a dumb purchase?
Of course, no one really cares about yet another Sonic title, and our staff was no different. Due to the high volume of feedback we received about our premier WiiWare title, I’m going to give it it’s own section in the write-up.
Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney : JUSTICE FOR ALL
Original Systems: Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS
Original Release Date: October 22, 2002 (JP GBA), January 16, 2007 (NA DS)
Price: 1000 Wii Points/$10
Mohamed Al-Saadoon: If you’ve ever played the game on the DS, there really is no reason to buy it again on the Wii, seeing as they’re the exact same game.
As for the game itself: If you loved the first game, you’ll love the second one. I’d venture to say that Justice for All is more of an expansion of the first game than a true sequel (this being Capcom after all) and the only real “feature” is the addition of “Psyche-locks” which are mostly lazy efforts to artificially extend game time and keep you from the best part of the game: The Courtroom (now with extra whips!).
All in all, the weakest entry in the original trilogy but still worth 10$ in my opinion.
Aileen Coe: Justice For All is a good continuation of where the first game left off, and introduces the Psyche-Lock feature, though if you own the DS version, it’s not really worth it to get this version as well since both versions are identical. However, if you picked up the Wii version of the first game, this is pretty much a necessity. While it’s not the strongest entry in the series (my vote would go to the third game) and is the shortest of the trilogy (unless for some kooky reason you want to pretend Rise From the Ashes doesn’t exist), it’s still well worth playing.
Aaron Sirois: I can say without any problems that Justice For All is the reason I bought a DS. A couple of hours spent playing my friend’s copy and I knew I had to play the whole series.
Nonetheless, it is the weakest game of the original trilogy. With only four cases, it is also the shortest. There are still plenty of great moments, and the end case has some really great characters. It just isn’t as strong as the first game and can’t compare with the sheer brilliance that was Trials and Tribulations
If you’ve played the first game but not this one, you should get your hands on it. Whether that means searching for a DS copy or just buying it off of the WiiWare service, it doesn’t matter. This game is worth your time.
Of course, fans of the series are probably just going to spend their time on the new game.
There are two other WiiWare releases. The first is WarMen Tactics, what appears to be a shooter with some confusing gameplay and a LAUGHABLY bad trailer video. The story is that, in the near future, the world can no longer be controlled by normal means, so all the governments of the world decide to ally with the UN to create a singular Department of Control to police all countries of the world. You are a member of a resistance of former conventional police and military members, resisting the “new world order”, as the narrator of the video puts it. In other words, it’s basically old-fashioned police (who I hate) vs. a new, modern police force of what appear to be mechs and RoboCop wannabes (who I also hate). Can I root for a meteor shower? It appears that hiding, moving and shooting are all done via the Wiimote, though I’m not quite sure how it’s supposed to be intuitive with that control scheme. At $8, I would say wait for reviews before deciding to plunk down any money on what appears to be a clunker at first glance. Also out is Art of Balance, which surprisingly isn’t a game that requires the Balance Board, but is instead a puzzle game involving placing various objects on a pedestal so that they stay balanced, and don’t fall off into the water. It seems a bit costly at $8, though to be fair, there are a fair amount of options thrown in such as competitive and cooperative play modes. I can honestly say this title has me intrigued.
On DSiWare, we have no less than five new titles. The big name of the lot is Prehistorik Man. If this name sounds familiar to gamers who were around for the 16 bit era, it should be; it was a DOS game that was ported to the Super Nintendo and later the Game Boy Advance. Having played the Super Nintendo version, I can confirm that it is a paint-by-numbers, era-specific platformer that will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s played any remotely similar title, ever. Needless to say, I’m not too enamoured with it, especially at $8, but anyone desperate for a new game, or who liked the previous iterations (especially old PC gamers) could stand to check it out. Another big name is out, in the form of Scrabble Classic, what appears to be a functional form of the classic board game for $8. This sounds like a safer purchase, especially for people who want something to do on a long trip. Real Soccer 2010 is a football game from Gameloft that uses the touchscreen for trick moves and the like. Anyone desperate for a football game might give it a passing glance, but for $8, I want a little more than a gimmick for my football fix. Spaceball: Revolution is a puzzle game that involves copying on the bottom screen what appears on the top screen, and though I can’t get any gameplay videos to check out what the gameplay actually is, looking at screenshots is giving me Super Glove Ball flashbacks. At least we finally found a game that costs less than $8 ($5). Finally, we have Spotto!, a game about a duck trying to save his friends from ghosts by using bombs. I have absolutely no clue how it plays, as there are no videos, screenshots are inconclusive and Google is no help, but Nintendo’s description makes it sound like Yoshi’s Island for kids. At least it’s cheap, at $2.
Overall, we have an overpriced game that requires two other overpriced games to make it worthwhile, but we also have a huge release with the second Phoenix Wright game making it onto WiiWare. At $10, that one’s definitely a steal. Everything else is buyer beware, but PW will get anyone that buys it a lot of gameplay.
Until next time, this is Christopher Bowen, who is currently getting the stink-eye from his fiancée because he never got into the Phoenix Wright games.