Another week, another set of releases on Nintendo’s various download services. First up is this week’s Virtual Console release, which never saw an official North American release and is nigh impossible to find a copy of these days. It seems Nintendo’s hit a groove in selecting VC releases…
Original System: Neo*Geo CD
Original Release Date: 11/24/1996
Price: 1000 Points/$10
Chris Bowen: I’m not even sure I can really come up with a way to describe Ironclad for people to understand. Unlike most of the other games that we chronicle, today is my first experience with Ironclad; it’s not like I grew up with a Neo*Geo CD. I am, however, getting into it now, and… I guess the best I can do is say it’s got elements of Darius because there’s path branching and multiple endings, and R-Type because of the way pod-based gameplay comes into things.
Now, take those two elements, and add a healthy dose of Alien Storm. This isn’t like most shooters where you have a bunch of enemies and some bullet hell elements coming into play. There’s only a few enemies each stage, and they’re easy to dispatch. It’s the bosses that really take the cake. I find that this game is deceptively hard because of the fact that you really don’t think this game is hard until you realize you’ve burned five continues on the first three stages, all of them on boss fights. The battles are simply sublime, as are the way the stages meld into one another.
I had such a problem describing this game that this is the second attempt I’ve made tonight in doing so. All I can say is this: I’ve been gaming now for twenty-eight years, and I don’t think I’ve seen a game quite like this. It’s derivative and yet so far outside the lines that Kindergarten teachers are scowling at it, all at the same time. Furthermore, I think I can count on my hand the number of people that have played this game before today, because it’s on SUCH an obscure system – even by Japanese standards – that almost no one was importing. Hell, I’ll bet that 90% of American gamers haven’t even heard of it before today. Therefore, it’s a collector’s piece, EXTREMELY rare (there aren’t even any eBay auctions), and a great shooter to boot.
I don’t think I’ve seen a game more worth a measly $10 on the Virtual Console.
Alex Lucard: Ironclad is not only one of my favourite shooters, it’s one of the best games on the Neo*Geo. It features branching paths, multiple endings and the music is incredible. The graphics are dated, but 14 years ago, this thing was beautiful.
This thing is incredibly expensive if you want to get an original copy, but here it is on the Virtual Console for a mere ten dollars. If you like shooters at all, this is one well worth investing in and experiencing one of the best shoot ’em up titles ever made. It’s games and opportunities like this that make the virtual console so awesome.
The WiiWare service got two new games this week with FISHIE FISHIE and Learning with the PooYoos: Episode 2, each priced at 500 points/$5. FISHIE FISHIE involves controlling a fish to fulfill its insatiable appetite (the controls consisting of a grand total of one button appears to be a selling point). It does also contain options for multiplayer if you happen to have other people to play with locally. PooYoos is aimed at three to six year olds and consists of a merry colorful band of characters who go over the basics of numbers, letters, and things of that nature. Of course, if you don’t have any children in that age range the game won’t hold much interest or relevance to you, but who says video games can’t be educational?
As far as the DSiWare service goes, there’s four games for your perusal, including another three Game & Watch titles. The Game & Watch games can be had for 200 points/$2 apiece and play the same way as their old LCD handheld versions, albeit with DSi controls. Game & Watch: Manhole you save pedestrians from a messy fall by covering manholes with, what else, a manhole cover. In Game & Watch: Helmet, you guide a construction worker to the office on the right side of the screen while dodging tools falling from above, while Game & Watch: Vermin is a version of whack-a-mole. Finally, there’s Mr. DRILLER: Drill Till You Drop for 500 points/$5, which is another iteration of Mr. Driller and serves well as a source of a drilling fix on the go.
All in all, it’s a fine week for Nintendo downloadables, with a great VC release, two WiiWare games geared for the younger crowd, and a decent DSiWare selection. Happy downloading, and check back here next week for our take on the next round of releases.