Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Three New Virtual Console Titles

This week, the three latest additions to Nintendo's Virtual Console appeared, to the joy of all you lucky duckies who've managed to score a Wii. While the rest of us are resigned to wait through the Holiday season, you'll be able to waste away your preciously short lifespans on classic games.

The newest games include Super Star Soldier, which was one of the finest shooters for the PC Engine. It never appeared on the Turbografx here in the States, which is too bad. If you were an American fan, you were pretty much screwed, as piles of great games were left in Japan, while Sega left poor NEC in the dust. Well, now's your chance to get in on the action.

For the Genesis, there's Golden Axe and Ecco the Dolphin. Golden Axe was among the first wave of Genesis games from 1989, and it's one of the best. You can appreciate Sega's dominance in the arcades, and that translated onto those first 16-bit titles. Sure, Golden Axe is one of those dreaded beat-ups, that genre that was once very popular, but is now looked down upon...something like leisure suits, or Milli Vanilli, or George W. Bush. No one wants to admit they were ever a fan.

That's too bad for Golden Axe. That's a crummy batch of pathetic losers to be stuck with. Why not remind yourself of what made videogames fun? Quick arcade action, instant thrills, not a lot of heavy thinking. It still beats watching TV.

Now, Ecco - this is one of the standouts of the 16-bit era. It came from Sega's absolute peak of the Genesis era, at the time of Sonic 2 and Toejam and Earl and Streets of Rage. Ecco was, and remains, a fiercely unique and inventive game. There are elements of role-play, adventure, puzzle, and platform games, often blending and blurring several genres at once, and completely shifting gears every few levels for kicks.

Ecco delivered some of the best graphics and animation at the time; it was one of those games you could admire and look at. And, hey, it has a dolphin! What more do you want? It's a pretty challenging game for its time, which means today's butterballs will probably get their fat asses kicked. Good. They need the exercise. Definitely get your hands on this one.

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