News Article

EU VC Update: Last Ninja 3, Impossible Mission II and Boogerman

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

After a short hiatus, the Commodore 64 is back with two new games - One is easily one of the most stunning games on the system, while the other is a good platform/action game. They're accompanied by a platformer on the Mega Drive.

Last Ninja 3 is the final part of the Last Ninja series. It's basically more of the same - Explore your isometric surroundings to find key items, kill enemies and solve simple puzzles to beat every stage. For this final part of the series, System 3 tweaked Armakuni's jumping a little - It animates a bit faster now. Items are also no longer in plain sight - You'll really have to search hard to find them now. As with the other two games in the series, it has stunning graphics and music, easily some of the best you can find on the C64. If you still haven't downloaded a C64 game yet, you really should consider downloading one of the three Last Ninja games.

Impossible Mission II is quite obviously the sequel to the original Impossible Mission. It's basically more of the same - Explore a randomly generated building (Although the layout of every room is always the same, the rooms themselves will always be in different positions when you start the game), searching objects to find parts of an intricate puzzle which you must then decode to find a password to beat the game. Aside from a graphical upgrade and some new enemies the game isn't that much different from the original, but if you liked that, you'll probably like this.

Boogerman is the second Interplay game to hit VC, after Earthworm Jim. Like Jim, it's a well-animated platformer, but unlike Jim, the gameplay isn't much to speak of - It's not really good, but it's not bad either. The game's got a unique style though - Your "hero" really isn't that much of a hero, as his superpowers include throwing boogers and farting! This rather unique theme puts it a step ahead of other "ok" platformers, though it still doesn't come close to approaching its earthwormy cousin. If you're mature enough not to be disgusted by the theme it could be worth checking out.

That's all this week! The next VC update will be on the day after Christmas - What do you think you'll find under your virtual Christmas tree?

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User Comments (110)



Bass_X0 said:

whoo. three games. nothing for me tonight though. couldn't afford anything anyway.



Drake said:

Australians will probably have to do with just Boogerman this week, sorry!



Yossarian said:

Lame. I guess it saves me downloading stuff for the sake of it. I seem to just collect games these days and not play them.



Bass_X0 said:

for once i feel Europe is treated well by nintendo. we're two games behind America in numbers (largely thanks to America's solo weeks allowing us to catch up). i feel bad for our austalian friends but can't they just change the region to europe to join in the C64 fun? i was half-heartedly hoping for Secret of Mana this week but I'm pretty sure we'll get it for Christmas. NoE must be saving it for then along with the likes of Mario Golf 64 and others.



soniczelda_dude said:

Commodore 64 games? Maybe this means North America will get some good games this week (a.k.a. Castlevania 3 and PS4).



Bass_X0 said:

or sadly, game. not plural. I hope you guys get more than one game on Monday. You deserve it for getting a bunch of solo weeks. Not that Europe is much better off with three games this week, its just like a solo game week and a duo game week if we kept to getting VC games every week instead of fortnightly. The more games the merrier I say.



kitroplious said:

The next VC update will be on the day after Christmas

or on Christmas (just like last year!) Let us hope...



Jolted85 said:

i don't mind nintendo releasing one game a week, as long as we get some kind of release on the VC, besides ninty considers WiiWare and VC games together (if you didn't know that already); still would like to see the EU people get Secret of Mana, you guys still have yet to receive Mario Golf as well...



Big_A2 said:

Thanks, but that doesn't really make me feel any better about not getting Secret of Mana.

They're probably just holding onto it for Christmas.



CanisWolfred said:

All of these are pretty good games, especially Last Ninja 3. Very nice update. Happy gaming, Europe!



Betagam7 said:

Wonderful to see the C64 being so well supported. Will definately grab LN3 at some point (after I beat the first one...arrgh those jumps!)
IM2 looks nice but as the first one is so hard to beat I doubt I'll bother.
Boogerman can litterally kiss my toilet seat for all I care. Even without the crappy PAL conversion I wouldn't waste my breath let alone 800 points on it.
Roll on Wizball and other C64 classics. It is a bit worrying that sequels are being so heavily plundered on C64 already. There are plety of grteat individual titles we havn't seen yet (Gribbly's day out)

Australians, just change your region. yes its annoying but you DO have access to the C64 even if Nintendo doesn't want you to think you do



Kevin said:

Yes they have. Hopefully they'll get better after Christmas week or sooner.



The_Fox said:

Pretty good week for the European V.C, except for Boogerman. And yes, Australia got screwed royally this week.



Nathan said:

Where's my Secret of Mana? Twas hoping it would be here today... oh well. Next fortnight?



Virus said:

Now the Australians really do have something to complain about. Geez that downright sucks. Still, I'm skeptical of these C64 games. Just from what I've seen, the games do not look that fun at all--even the "best" ones--but again, I have only seen them. Hopefully the console will find its way to America's VC so I can test out a game.



timp29 said:


I've been after Last Ninja 3 for ages. And since australia didn't get probotector 2/super c either, I have my 1000 UK points planned to perfection

Don't be sorry to australians. It is really not that hard to get these games by changing your settings to UK temporarily. And those who don't have a credit card, use a debit card. Those who are too young and can't do either, give your parents AU$16-17 and use their credit card. Just remember you'll have 1000 points to spend so either 2 c64 games or perhaps probotector II since it isn't available here either!



Edwin said:

For Christmas 2006 we got Super Mario Bros. For Christmas 2007 we got Donkey Kong Country 3. Christmas 2008 = Majora's Mask. And I don't care that Japan hasn't gotten it yet, it could still happen. We got DKC3 before they did.



Corbs said:

I wish they would hurry up and bring the Commodore 64 games to the US. I haven't played The Last Ninja 3 in ages.



Mike1 said:

@Bass X0, post #7
Why are you so obsessed with passing America? If I recall, last year you guys were close to surpassing America at one point and then all of a sudden we started to get 3 plus games per week and Europe barely got 1 a week. I hope that happens again!



buzz_clik said:

Impossible Mission II < Impossible Mission

The original was a gorgeous piece of sleek, streamlined gaming perfection (and in a single load, no less). The sequel is overcomplicated and clunky, with ugly sprites and slapdash room design.



Wesbert said:

I'm not so sure about the "if you're mature enough" comment about boogerman. After all, the interest in boogers and farts usually decreases with maturity



Bendover83 said:

Next EU Update: Sonic 2, Secret of Mana, Mario Golf 64
That would be sweet.
US Update on the 22nd: Castlevania III, Phantasy Star IV

Well here's hoping.



RGVEDA said:

I really, really hope that Secret of Mana is coming in 2 Weeks! I am really disappointed for today!



buzz_clik said:

@31 - I agree. Although that being said...

  • makes fart noise with hand under armpit *

...I still enjoy doing that.



wii-c-kid said:

Woo! No wait ... boo! Worst week ever (for a multi-game week that is) on VC!

No Secret of Mana, no Parasol Stars and no Mario Golf. They'd better come next week Nintendo!



Twilight_Crow said:

Not a bad week for EU, that Last Ninja game seem nice.
Nintendo must know australians can change their region, is so stupid from them to apparently deny some games to some people, knowing that they can actually get them, no one should have to change anything on their Wiis, I SAY C64 FOR EVERY CONTINENT!



Captain_Konami said:

Hey, congrats Europe. Any Last Ninja is a gem, and the Impossible Mission concept is a classic, even if #2 is a slightly lesser version of itself (inspite of sprucier graphic details). And, so how about that Last Ninja 3?!

I'm glad I get to be slightly less disappointed in Nintendo, thanks to at least Europe getting a fair showing.

And complete ditto to Corbie @ #27!



Bass_X0 said:

#28: Just encouraging my own country to do well. Doesn't do anything though.



slangman said:

A decent week. I might get LN3 sometime when I beat LN2. Won't be getting IM2 since i didn't like the orginal much.Oh and still no SoM. Boo Nintendo



RoyOfTheRovers said:

Boring update - was hoping for Sonic 2 on the Master System.

I guess that makes up my mind for my weekend gaming, am going to trade in Fifa 09 and pick up my first ever Animal Crossing game. By tonight I will be smacking rocks and planting pears or something.



RoyOfTheRovers said:

Wouldn't bet on it, still Game were sold out so I picked it up at Tesco, had to queue for Customer Services to get the disc, had only paid for the standard version but the numpty behind the desk gave me the Wii Speak version!

Back of the net!



Bass_X0 said:

Back of the net!

RoyOfTheRovers isn't just a name is it? Its a way of life?



Stuffgamer1 said:

I don't personally care about C64 games (never played them, and most of them don't look so good imo), but I really don't understand how Europe has an entire SYSTEM America lacks (and it has more games for it than SMS, not that THAT'S hard to do...).

So I'm no MAJOR Boogerman fan, but I still call that the best game of the release today. It's amazing how much nicer that game looks in a release with two other games instead of trying to stand up by itself...



Rapadash6 said:

Why is it Nintendo just won't let Europe have Mario Golf and Secret of Mana, while the US is being denied Castlevania III and Phantasy Star IV?



MaxPlastic said:

Damn, the graphics and music on Last Ninja 3 are outta control! That looks better than some GBA games lol
I wish NA got C64 games...



WarioFan63 said:

but I really don't understand how Europe has an entire SYSTEM America lacks
I think part of it is that theyre having troubles licensing or copyrighting their stuff or something legal like that outside of Europe.



truercki said:

@ WarioFan63: I think that licensing for Europe or America should not make a big difference. Yes they are two different continents but they should have been that smart to make world wide deals directly.



Betagam7 said:

Could it be that Nintendo is looking at previous sales figures when it comes to what games to release.
This could also explain the delay on SOM as I'm guessing it sold more in America than Europe due to its longer availability.
The C64 was a huge success in the UK, I'm not sure if it was as popular in America so it could be that they are mining a fanbase they know will already exist.



MaxPlastic said:

lol If they made the Vectrex an NA VC exclusive, do you think they'd have the option to play with and/or without the color overlays?
... Man the Vectrex would be lame compared to the MSX and C64...
I vote NA get Apple ][ or Macintosh games!



Betagam7 said:

"I don't personally care about C64 games (never played them, and most of them don't look so good imo), but I really don't understand how Europe has an entire SYSTEM America lacks "

Maybe that's the attitude Nintendo thinks most Americans will have and that's why you don't get the system.

"So I'm no MAJOR Boogerman fan, but I still call that the best game of the release today"

You can call it that, but it doesn't make it true. Last Ninja 3 blows it to pieces



Ragnor said:

A one game week that isnt even desirable at ALL this close to christmas?




Bass_X0 said:

change your region to europe, get more points, download the desirable C64 games then change back. you don't have to be oppressed by Nintendo! fight back!



Yatesy said:

OK folks, let's be honest here. At the risk of getting lynched, If you never owned a Commodore 64 and don't get that tingly nostalgic feeling whenever someone mentions the word "Paradroid", the likes of the Last Ninja series is probably not going to do anything for you. As a dispassionate (and slightly curmudgeonly) observer, I downloaded Last Ninja 2 a while back on a whim (and quite possibly on the recommendation of this site) and, playing it from the perspective of someone who first started playing games on the NES and Atari 2600, I found it slow, plodding, ugly and intensely boring. I think that these five star reviews that you give to such games should also state that if you didn't actually play the game in 1989 and don't get all wet just thinking about it, it very well might not be the game for you.

Don't get me wrong. I can totally understand why you give such games five stars. There are games that I can remember from my youth with such vivid fondness that, if I was in a position to review it for a public audience, I'd simply have to give it the absolute maximum mark allowed, even if I knew full well that the game perhaps didn't hold up so well 20 years later and that those who aren't looking at it through rose-tinted spectacles probably won't get anywhere near the same buzz out of it that I do.

I don't think that there's anything wrong with giving five stars to these old games that you enjoyed donkeys years ago. But I think that you should perhaps recognise in the review that you're not coming at them from a fresh perspective, and that years of dewey-eyed sentiment might just be creeping into the overall score.



MrPoo6321 said:

I really hope we get some more good VC games soon. I think these past few weeks have been alright games, except for the ShovelWiiWare that's been coming out lately. The only WiiWare games I'm looking forward to are Animales de la Muerte and Eternity's Child. I hope they start reaching back to some of the good license games like The Lion King on the Genesis or SNES.



Stuffgamer1 said:

@Betagam7: A valid point, assuming that Nintendo does have reasons for their actions (something I continue to doubt, to some extent). The idea that games are being released based on original sales seems iffy at best, though, as I'm pretty sure some of the REAL crap releases we've seen didn't sell worth anything, while the great stuff keeps off the VC for no obvious reason. It's also a stupid business practice, as people could sometimes make a lot of money off of games that gained popularity postmortem (such as Earthbound or Beyond Good & Evil [that one SHOULD become downloadable on Xbox 360 and/or PS3 by the time #2 comes out, but probably won't]). Sometimes a game sells well the first time and then never again because a lot of people were simply tricked into buying crap the first time but know better now.

I also fully agree with what Yatesy said. A review really should make clear that there's a haze of memory effecting the score, or maybe just try to have somebody who didn't play the game before review it (you might need a pretty dang big review squad to pull that off, or use a bunch of younger guys who weren't gaming back then). I dunno...this kind of thing is always really hard to qualify properly...



timp29 said:

This is a retro gaming site. Its about playing games for nostalgic reasons, or appreciating gameplay/storyline aspects that influenced the majority of the games out today. Everyone on here has games that they view with rose coloured glasses, and many on here will defend a game because it holds such dear and fun memories for them. But of course these feelings are individual and don't apply to everyone. All I can say is if you play a game you don't think deserves 5 stars, rate it accordingly to give others a better insight. Realistically, the people who rate and download these games are going to be people with fond memories of the game more often than not. Thus, every review is probably skewed to the upper limit of whatever rating a game truly deserves.

Take whatever rating a game is given with a grain of salt for this reason. Compared to modern games, the vast majority of VC games are probably rubbish. Is metal gear on the NES better than metal gear solid 4 on the PS3? At face value, you must say no way. But when you consider the context of the era which these games were released in and the context of technology available at the time, this will have an affect on the reviews (ok ok not the best example ). I think the vast majority of reviews and ratings on a retro gaming website will be delivered with these contexts in mind.



Stuffgamer1 said:

I don't really do that whole "comparing games in the context of technology" thing. I compare games by their fun value, plain and simple. This is why there are 10-15-year-old games I DIDN'T get to play at release but have only recently played that I still like more than a lot of modern titles. Actually, I guess it's more why I wouldn't compare Disgaea 3 to Metal Gear Solid 4: Sure, they released for the same system around the same time, but they're vastly different games and can't really be compared to each other at all! As I'm typing this, I realize just how hard it is to explain my thoughts on this matter clearly.

I guess what I mean is that I think every game should be reviewed in a vacuum. Not very realistic, I suppose, but I think too many games wind up getting compared to each other instead of being taken for what they are (this is why the talk of Boogerman vs. Mario a couple weeks ago bothered me so much).

I love StarTropics. I firmly believe it deserves five stars. True, I have SOME fond memories of the game, but not too many (I was pretty dang young, and memories are sketchy at best). I give it those stars because of its fun sense of humor, great music (I have MP3's on my PSP), cool level layouts, and brutal but beatable difficulty. You see? I didn't have to compare the game to anything to give valid reasons for my score.

But people can't stand to see that kind of review for some reason. If a game isn't compared to some other game, they seem unable to understand its quality or lack thereof.

I hope I made at least SOME sense in this post...I'm honestly not sure. I do agree with the existence of this haze to be sure. My love of Fire 'N Ice most definitely falls into that category, I'm sure. I'd love to see that on'd have been a better choice than Solomon's Key, that's for sure (same developer, heck, same main character!). Okay, I'll just stop now and wait to see what sense people can make of all this.



timp29 said:

Hahah, you made more sense than me.... I just kinda thought out loud... if typing what was going through my head is the same thing. All I really did was say what retro gaming is to me.



Betagam7 said:

Speaking as someone who has been around since 1978 and owned alot of C64 games I can see where youre coming from with the nostalgia influencing scores but Id say its a little more complicated than that.
I recently bought Paradroid, one of the games most accused of favourable scores based on nostalgia, after being seriously put off by the video, I decided to give it a chance based on my love of Andrew Braybrooks other classic Uridium.
I quickly discoverd a game that is mesmerisingly addictive and just really great fun. I also bought Last Ninja for the first time and, after some initial frustrations with the controls, found the same to be true of that title.
I owned neither of these games initially so is it just my love for the C64 in general that is colouring my views (it seems unlikely as I found a third previously unplayed download, Cybernoid, to be utterly awful), or could it be that, having taken a chance on them I've simply discovered them to be gems well worth the high review scores they've garnered?



Kelvin said:

Yatesy, nostalgia had no part in the scores I gave to Last Ninja 3 or Impossible Mission II I assure you. That would be dishonest, and I try to come to review each game on its own merits.



Stuffgamer1 said:

@timp29: I was sort of thinking in type myself, which is why I think it looks kinda disjointed. I'm just a bit concerned about what reviews written through a haze could to to the retro interest of the kids who're STARTING gaming on the Wii, or like that. If they follow a high score that was undeserved, they may be turned off from old games in general and start calling us fogies or something.

@Betagam7: That's what I'm talking about, really. It is okay for people to try old games for the first time and love them. I do at least as much of that as buying new games I like...

@Kelvin: Glad to hear it.



Adamant said:

"My love of Fire 'N Ice most definitely falls into that category, I'm sure. I'd love to see that on'd have been a better choice than Solomon's Key, that's for sure (same developer, heck, same main character!)."

Same series, too. "Fire'n Ice" is just the nonsensical new name given to Solomon's Key 2 in the US for some dumb reason. Which is why they didn't release it first. We don't get sequels before the original when they're on the same console.



Captain_Konami said:

Actually, just off the top of my head, it seems like games like Super C showing up without Contra would seem to eliminate a hard and fast rule in place about release of sequels only following release of originals.
And regarding review score quality, I'd be willing to suggest that a game's score more often than not will "run afoul" of a player much more often due to it "not being their cup of tea" (that is, not a style or genre that they normally enjoy, and then react strongly to it getting a good score) rather than a wholly unreasonable rating for the game. I'd suspect a lack of larger perspective by the gamer trying the game for the first time rather than a seasoned gamer reviewing a game from years past experience (and hopefully present day replay on the console in question prior to posting their review).

The effort by folks to say this decades old games stands up well by current standards.....and THIS one doesn''s sort of preposterous. To be TRULY honest, none-zilch-zero of the classic games (save MAYBE the most recent generation ones like N64 and such) will stand up well....... obviously, just based on system limitations and possibly also laziness of game makers of the time not pushing the limits of their respective consoles.

(taking this moment to note that while I was reading the EU release for last week, it reoccurred to me that the C64 may be the most fully utilized of gaming platforms ... perhaps of all time. With the NES getting some good efforts and the SNES some good efforts....and mostly the 3rd party companies getting lazier and lazier with each new generation of console, relying on just basic efforts and the increasing power of the systems to advance their game's graphics and control schemes)

thus the truth is that we have two choices with a site like this and games like these:

A. You use an objective standard for fun, graphics, control, speed, etc etc and 95% of the games on the VC and this site will all be squished into the 2, MAYBE 3 stars range...... pretty much without exception.

B. You score the games relative to the time frame they were released in, sentimentality included and probably unavoidable (the folks without the sentimentality aren't bothering with VC I suspect, or not seriously bothering with it ) and you take sentimentality as a given due to human memory over time. And when a high score gets placed on a game like.......oh, say, Boogerman, ......I can look at it and disagree with it (and use maturity enough to see that it's not my sort of genre/story-style, not even my sort of platformer, and not try the game and then blame the review for my dislike. And I could perhaps even manage to impartially appreciate the rater's perspective being born not just of sentimentality but also of respect for the boldness of the game's visual style and nonPC content).

I've seen plenty of rose colored glasses on plenty of people both posting as well as writing feature reviews here on this site. And actually I really appreciate and prefer that. It's a passion for the classics that will do better justice and better represent my love of the classics, rather than some Gamestop reviewer giving Zelda a 7, Mario Kart 64 a 6, Metroid and Kid Icarus 5's.....and games like Mega Man 1 going unscored!

An active and passionate site with review scores that will vary, but not stupidly so, and with at least a taste for what it means for a classic game to be "good" or "not good", based more on raw fun (which is a value that MUST include level sentimental value, since classic games bring that to the table of value as much as quality of gameplay, length of gameplay, depth of story, quality of controls, quality and appropriateness of graphics, and so on) than dominating the review and score with a hypothetical "What if this game had never been played before, even though it is from a decade or two ago?" approach that I think would reflect far too little of what draws the majority to the VC in the first place.

Regarding the newbies that don't have prior experience with these games to draw on, it is INDEED unfortunate that classic appropriate reviews for classic games will not work as well for them, they are sort of the collateral damage in the whole rerelease of classic games concept. Bit I think it's largely determinable which way the balance (of the reviewer perspective) should lean, given the intended audiance of the VC concept and classic game rereleases in general. It couldn't live purely on folks with no connection to the games, just taking fliers on things because they are something they've never seen to played before. If that's the majority set of consumers, then classic game rerelease concepts are DOA (the medical concept, not the game ) as a sustainable marketing concept.

Anyway.....once again my commentary went long. Apologies folks.

So yeah, .......... what I meant to say where's my frickin Contra, man?!?!



timp29 said:

Woah, that could be a social commentary on game reviews... in thesis form

Anyway, after reading it I thought I should point out that I really like the way the reviews are done on this site and none of my comments are supposed to be critical of anyone here. In fact, more often than not, I agree with them and if I had unlimited Wii points tomorrow, I would be downloading super ghouls and ghosts, gunstar heroes, secret of mana, Y's I and II and a whole heap of other games despite never playing them before. In fact, I love the reviews with passion about a game as they really do encourage me to get out there and give games that are unknown to me a go.



Captain_Konami said:

Yeah, probably some repressed social analyst in me along with the rampant nostalgic gamer. heh

And I should mention, after my last elongated post about what I like about this site, that the criticism is all good stuff (well, most of the time save for the folks whose only participation in discussions is to show up just enough to constantly play devils advocate) and if folks are here posting then inherent in that is some level of appreciation of this site and what it has going on.

Obviously, any site that gives Boogerman four stars while giving Castlevania 2 three stars CAN'T be entirely criticism proof.



Stuffgamer1 said:

@Adamant: I guess you're right about Fire 'N Ice being Solomon's Key 2. Only thing is, it's fun (I don't like Solomon's Key at all). There was also Solomon's Club on Gameboy, which was pretty good.
Along with Captain_Konami's Contra, I would remind you of Breath of Fire. The first isn't on VC, but the second is. Granted, this will most likely be the case forever because Capcom had Squaresoft handle the American release of the first one, and they're not likely to work together to get it on VC now.

@Captain_Konami: Some classic games hold up better than you seem to think. Chrono Trigger stands up GREAT (which is why the DS release with relatively minor changes works so well), as does Super Mario World, and others. The first Legend of Zelda doesn't hold up quite so well, imo, even though I'm a big fan of the series as a whole. Actually, I think SNES games are more likely to hold up today than N64 games, because quality 2D lasts better than lousy (even though it was great at the time) 3D.

And I guess I'm not criticism proof either, because I agree with those Boogerman and Castlevania 2 scores relative to each other. It's all about taste and reasonable playability. Castlevania probably shows more taste, I'll admit, but Boogerman is INFINITELY more playable, imo. And in the end, that matters more to me than "taste." So maybe it's really all about playability, stuff the taste. Whatever.



Adamant said:

I agree with the relative scores of those games too. Boogerman is a decent, if unspectacular platforming romp, while Castlevania 2 has never been anything more than a horrendously dull and badly designed platform adventure. I'd say respectively 3 and 2 stars would be more fitting, though.

And yeah, I forgot about BoF and Contra. My bad (though BoF1 is a horrible game, and I don't miss it one bit).



Stuffgamer1 said:

@Adamant: Hey, now, BoF1 isn't horrible! Not as good as 2, of course, but not horrible. It's better on GBA, anyway (so is 2, actually). Better translation, "run" feature (don't you hate how slow people moved in old RPG's?), menu overhaul (much nicer, imo)... You get the point.

You're probably also right about the 3 and 2 thing. I didn't mention what their actual scores should've been because I couldn't decide, but that looks about right. Actually, I'd give Castlevania 2 a 1 (and Castlevania 1, because I'm not into unbeatable games), but that three for Boogerman might be accurate. Ah, well, it doesn't really matter anyway.

Might as well just hope for a decent release tomorrow (yeah, right!). Well, I think we're supposed to be getting SBCG4AP Episode 5 in America, so that'll be cool, though some good VC would be VERY much appreciated...



Corbs said:

Castlevania 1 isn't too tough to beat if you put a bit of time into it. And I still think Castlevania II: Simon's Quest is the best Castlevania game of all time. I love Rondo of Blood and Dracula's Curse, but I'll take Simon's Quest any day.



Cally said:

@ Adamant

I mostly agree, Simon's Quest was a great experiment that didn't quite make it. I'd stick it more in the "adventure" genre, myself. I still like it a lot for what worked, and wish they'd give the formula another attempt, especially in 3D.

. . . but the best non-Metroidvania? I'm leaning toward Castlevania IV. And I have played them all (except Bloodlines!). Then maybe Castlevania 3 and then Rondo of Blood.



WarioFan63 said:

though some good VC would be VERY much appreciated...
I wager something from the pool of MUSHA, Enduro Racer, Phantasy Star 4, Clayfighter, Castlevania 3, or Wonder Boy will show up tomorrow.



Kelvin said:

Captain_Konami, we're not comparing games directly against each other. If we were, then of course the scores would be skewed in the direction you suggest. However, that's not the way I do it, and I'd guess that the rest of the reviewers here feel the same way. I review a game in isolation, on its own merits; I judge it based on how good that game is, how well that game plays, and not how it stacks up to the latest PS3 release, or how much I liked it first time around (indeed, I didn't like Wizball much the first time around, and in reviewing it for a possible VC release, I found I liked it much more now). As such, Last Ninja III is a solid 5/5 good time, just as Super Mario Galaxy is, despite the differences in processing power, graphics, sound, etc.

To my mind, comparing a VC game to a game of today is just as unfair as looking at it from a nostalgic point of view.



Betagam7 said:

Yes, completely agree. You don't compare a DS game with an Xbox 360 version. We understand that they're different machines with different processing powers.
Also disagree that all games bar the N64/PS1 generation don't stand up against there modern day rivals.
The original Super Mario Bros is still a better game than some modern day releases.
As Stuffgamer says, classic 2d has aged much better than early 3d with its awful draw distances, creaky cameras and glitchy jagged polygons.
Its the reason casual gamers like my lass can still have a blast with SMB 1-3 but find Super Mario 64 ugly and difficult to control despite loving the smooth perfected experience found in Galaxy.



Betagam7 said:


Incidently, just going off your Wizball comments do you actually review the VC version or do you review the ROM?



Chunky_Droid said:

I totally hated the Last Ninja series, my uncle bought all three of them for my C64 aeons ago, I couldn't get a handle on the controls. They were just too unresponsive to get any of the jumps right and just making the dude turn was a pain in the arse.

Anyway, kudos to the rest of you who enjoyed it I just like my Head Over Heels and Frankie Goes to Hollywood (awesome murder mystery with whacky mini-games!) Oh and the Great Escape was a brilliant game if I remember correctly aswell, I never escaped that prison though.



Drake said:

@ Betagam7: VC versions of games have almost no changes at all (Those that do have changes just have small bits of changed text). Why would we wait for the VC version when we can just review the original right away?



Kelvin said:

Betagam7, in most cases, I review the ROM. At this point, we're not given review copies of the VC releases, so in order to have the reviews ready for publication on release day, we more often than not review based on the ROMs. If the VC release has some differences (like some of the glitches we've seen on some C64 titles), then the review is rewritten to take those into account. A USB-Gamecube adapter is invaluable.



timp29 said:

Bah Europe is still 3 games behind NA (2 if you include axelay being available to europeans who change their region to australia/new zealand). Go NoE, kick NoA ass!



Captain_Konami said:

If my love of NoA weren't so absent right now, I'd feel compelled to counter that............ but NAH, go ahead and kick NoA's ass. I'll go find a whoopin stick for you to use.

Besides, raw game total seems less and less reliable an indicator of who is having more luck at getting quality gaming options these days ........take Enduro Racer......... I MEAN it, take my Enduro Racer. PLEASE!!

(Bah dum dum!)



Kelvin said:

The Stelladapter is good for recreating the C64 experience, but not so great for reviewing the games as VC releases. I like to test the games based on how well they work with a d-pad or analogue stick, since that's what VC players will use.



Betagam7 said:

@ Drake post 83 Why would we wait for the VC version when we can just review the original right away?

Because as a PAL gamer I want to know if the game has been optimised and how the PAL conversion plays, not how some ROM plays...but it seems VC reviews has lost all interest in commenting on or pursuing this. What a pity as with its userbase it could have made a difference and tried to get some answers. I guess it isn't in your sites interest to make a fuss over something that might discourage sales of VC titles. That's pretty dissapointing guys.



timp29 said:

Uh betagam7, this is a vc review site, not a site hell bent on lost causes. The impetus for complaints is in the hands of the consumer, not the reviewer.



Betagam7 said:

Apparently It's a site that has time to write articles on Club Nintendo which has nothing whatsoever to do with the virtual conole or VC reviews, why then can't it fight the corner for the mistreated VC fans by asking Nintendo for some answers. While were on it wouldn't you like to hear a reason why you can't download C64 games? Why can't VC reviews put that question forward to Nintendo and Commadore gaming on behalf of its large readership and try and get an answer.
I'm guessing this is now the most widely read VC website so doesn't that give it some weight?
Would it hurt? The so called "big" sites don't want to put anyones noses out of joint and scupper there freebies by asking the questions that matter but if VC reviews isn't getting any freebies then why not.
Causes are only lost because people, apparently like yourself, are not prepared to try.
This site does alot to promote and help with Nintendo's sales indirectly, it should be able to ask them for some answers and not be afraid to challenge them.

To answer your question though, when I read a review I would like to know if my version of the game is going to suffer because of slower running speed or massive borders. If I'm just going to read a generic Rom review I may as well not bother as I could download and try that for myself but it likely won't be the same experience that I'll be playing on VC.

VC reviews used to at least comment on the PAL conversion/optimisation, now they don't even bother.



timp29 said:

Do you own a whole wardrobe of Che Guevara T-shirts? I love dramatic generalisations.



Kelvin said:

Betagam7, at this point, we have to make a choice between making readers wait for reviews while we thoroughly playtest the VC release, or review the ROM. In most cases, there is very little difference between the original ROMs and the VC versions, and any major changes can be added to the reviews after the fact, if necessary. I think that's a fair compromise.

Regarding PAL optimisation, the C64 games are all PAL (or close enough) releases originally, so they're already "optimised". It seems a waste of effort to mention this each time.

And regarding getting the answers from Nintendo, Dazza and others have tried, but the Big N has been rather reluctant to discuss the inner workings of the VC. There is an incredible amount of secrecy involved, and Nintendo don't communicate very well with even the VC providers; this is why we get situations where publishers announce VC releases and then Nintendo release completely different titles (as happened with Hudsonsoft recently, I believe). If Nintendo don't talk to their VC partners, imagine how difficult it is for us to get answers from them.



Betagam7 said:

Mayhem in Monsterland was a recent case in point where a thorough playtest would have revealed some quite appalling glitches in sound and music that may not have been present on a ROM but I'm not generally talking about PAL optimisation for C64 games. I'm talking about SNES, Mega Drive and N64 in particular where the optimisation is completely random or universally terrible.
To give a few examples: reviewing the ROM of Waverace 64 doesn't tell me that the game hasn't been optimised to reduce the borders in the way that other N64 titles have, similarly reviewing the ROM of SF2 turbo doesn't tell me that unlike most SNES games Capcom hasn't bothered to optimise it. Similarly some titles like Sonic 2 really suffer from the reduction in speed while others like Super Probotector don't and this should be pointed out in a review.
Contrary to belief there is no universal rule over what does and doesnt get optimised so it would be a useful thing to put in your review. If you were, as you say, adding this to the review later , then fair enough but the fact is that although it used to be a staple of your reviews this has now been dissapointingly dropped.
Frankly, the ability to find out about the PAL conversion was one of the main reasons I used to check this site when there was an update as, well written as you reviews may be, I already know how most of the games released played originally.
Do you think its something VC-reviews would consider putting back in its reviews as there appears to be no such definitive list on the internet now. Even a seperate page people could scroll down and check on (like the one that used to be on wikipedia) would be helpful.
Regarding answers. Have vc-reviews also tried getting answers from Sega about why their Mega Drive releases are so universally bad on VC when they take the time to fix them for Live Arcade?
Have you tried asking Commadore Gaming for reasons why they can't enter the Australian market, these are two companies who seem far more approachable than Nintendo and might be open to discussion.

And no I don't own any Che Guevara T-shirts on the grounds that people who wear Che Guevara T-shirts are first class imbeciles who don't understand that becoming an icon of consumer culture was ultimately something he would have despised.
Still nice attempt at the sort of dramatic generalisation you alledgedly love...



Kelvin said:

Betagam7 the VC publishers find that they're not allowed to tell us anything more than Nintendo will. Nintendo is in charge, and if they say "don't talk" then that's what happens.

I would suggest emailing Dazza or Damo if you want to see the optimisation information put back in. I'm sure it would be easy enough.



Betagam7 said:

Well I believe one of those two has already commented that they felt "people didn't care".
Sadly they are probably right which is how Nintendo and others get away with it.
I still maintain though that a review is only a review if it covers the actual product, not something that closely resembles it. The latter is simply a preview and so it looks as though that's what most of the reviews here amount to as I don't see any evidence of them being changed to reflect later knowledge gained from playing the actual VC release.
You say this happens but I can direct you to the review of Mayhem in Monsterland and show you that despite people finding out about the sound and colour problems there is still no mention of that in the review or any reduction in its score because of it.
This means that the review, however well written, is fundamentally inacurate. Its like reviewing for a PS3 mag but basing your reviews on the Xbox360 version.



Captain_Konami said:

I'd just like to drop in my 2 cents that I agree in large part with Betagam7 is saying. Certainly in agreement with his concern over reviews being based on essentially a different port of a game. Playing the NA games I do, I don't suffer under the PAL issue (though I've emulated games at various speeds and can fully appreciate the impacts of such on gameplay satisfaction) yet I do see differences to varying degrees between my NES carts of these games and what I download to my VC. Content is mostly the same, but responsiveness and some patterns seem to be off sometimes. Probably not significant enough or numerous enough that I'd expect to read about them in the game reviews, yet it is enough variation for me be somewhat disappointed that the reviews take the quick and easy way out.

I'm pretty sure no one is going fall apart or abandon VC reviews simply because the game reviews come out 2 or three days later. And with the slow rate of release per week, it makes review lag time even less of an issue than it would be otherwise.

And before someone counter points with a cop out like the fact that we don't pay money for the existence of this site, or the reviews that it's folks produce (and I'll say that I can and do have solid appreciation of the efforts made to produce the content on this site, while still commenting on what I see as a potential improvement to what/how it offers its material to the readers), I want to point out that an earnest criticism of how/what a website is providing for its readers is actually useful feedback and is of a desire to make things better rather than just gripping (or whinging as it were.....or was it winging? ).

I'd hope the reviewers will at least take the time consider and weigh some of the reasons folks are putting forth in support of the reviews actually being based on the VC port, and then can actually discuss the VC version experience rather than relying on recollections from their past and dancing around actually saying that they are describing experiences with the original cart or a ROM of the game.

People pay attention to such things probably more than writers realize, and like Betagam7 I also noted when past reviews actually targeted parts of their review to elements of the VC port of the game, and I have noticed such concrete connections being absent in many reviews, perhaps even more recently.

I highly appreciate the time folks are taking to write up a review (and perhaps even replaying the game before doing so, in SOME format or another), but with that recognized, I'd like to add my sincere vote for reviews being of that which the site is dedicated to.

The concept of a (perhaps largely harmless, that's up for debate) harmless sort of shellgame regarding source of reference for the reviews in principle concerns me somewhat. I'd hope that the reduced pressure of indie journalism could hold to higher standards than what passes for journalistic integrity these days in more mainstream printings.

Anyway, it's just a hope I have for an even better VC Reviews.



Kelvin said:

Perhaps it's time for the VC "staff" to have a meeting!

I do understand the concerns, and if we had access to the VC ports before release, then there'd be no issue. However, we get to see the games exactly when everyone else does, and we don't get "review copies" either. In order to get the reviews ready for the time of release, we have to review based on the ROM, and as such any technical issues associated with the emulation sometimes get passed over.

I don't know if Damo or Dazza are reading this thread, but I'll mention it to them if no one else already has done so. To my mind, the best solution would be to review based on ROMs as we do already, then amend the review later based on the VC port, as I thought we were doing already.

Bear in mind that not all of us reviewers write our pieces based on the ROMs, and I prefer not to when possible.



Betagam7 said:

That's fine by me Kelvin. As Captain Konami points out we are only trying to suggest ways to improve the accuracy of reviews which at the moment are not really reflective.
If a game was released with a poor PAL conversion these days you can be sure that the paper magazines would find it both relevant AND worth commenting on and it would affect there review score.
Could you also put my suggestion to the "board" of VC-reviews that they have a page where each game is listed and its PAL conversion described briefly. Wikipeida used to have this but it mysteriously disappeared.
Thanks for listening



MaxPlastic said:

At the risk of being lynched by Captain Konami...
Whatever happened to taking the information a game site or game mag gave you, processing that, and then ultimately deciding for yourself whether or not you wanted to buy, rent, or try a game?
The staff at VC-Reviews are providing people online with an amicable amount of detail and criticism for each game; And when I read a review online or in a mag, I always take it with a grain of salt. I for one think Splatterhouse is actually pretty boring to play, but the reviewers and readers here seem to think otherwise. And let's face it. You pretty much know what games you're willing to try by looking at or watching them anyway
As far as the PAL issue goes, I do think that any issues should probably be mentioned in reviews, as slow down or any framerate change would be detrimental (That goes for any game)
The point I'm trying to make is that I guess I agree with both Captain Konami and Betagam7 as far as updating each reviews with any issues regarding the port of a game; But to say that games with no differences receiving reviews based on ROMs are inaccurate is a little nit-picky. Boogerman is a game about farts and boogers no matter how you look at it, and you already know by looking at it whether or not you'll want to try it, regardless of what format it was reviewed on
I feel like this is all a side effect of the staff just trying to get reviews out for us to read and look at as fast as possible. I mean, we are a pretty insatiable crowd. NA VC updates usually go up at about 9-10am EST here in America, and it usually only takes five minutes for the post to receive 30 comments



Betagam7 said:

Nobody's saying they shouldn't review the ROMS or originals initially, just that they should be honest and open about it and call it a preview. Once they get the chance to play the VC version they should update the review with any issues, altering the score if necessary.
We all know why they do what they do but that doesn't mean greater clarity wouldnt go amiss. Nobody will desert the site for showing greater journalistic integrity.



Captain_Konami said:

@MaxPlastic: Heh, no lynching coming. (have I cultivated that intimidating a presence? )

I see your perspective, and in a certain way I agree with it. Readers (just like any consumer) should bring a minimum level of critical thought (questioning and identifying the limits of usefulness) to the stuff they consume, in this case the written word.

Where we split a bit is that, while I see weaknesses with reviews based on ROMs, the core of my concern actually lies in writing the review as if it is of the VC game, when (using ROMs) it typically is being meant as a review of the game in general, or perhaps more accurately the game concepts (since game controls and graphics and such are tied to the specific platform the game is played on).

The issue that primarily concerns me is the ambiguity of such. Now if each written review stated (in a box or in the text itself) what platform the review was being based on, that would (in my mind at least) solve that issue. People could have more confidence in "which grain of salt" to take with it (the review), so to speak. To regard the review as a direct review of the VC game itself, or take it as a generalized review that doesn't really speak to the reality of the VC experience of the game (which often enough will be almost indistinguishable, but still not always).

And then people would know if the mention or lack of mention of PAL slowdoown (for example) is due to there being no slow down, or the review not knowing.

And to be utterly frank, with none of us paying money for the site's content, a large part of me wouldn't blame the reviewers for sticking to the (free) ROM reviews over the direct VC reviews (that would cost the money download for every game that gets released). The reviews would still be FAR from valueless, just not quite the full meal deal. Certainly people would still be able to make some "interest" decisions based on ROM reviews, and those who want the details of the experience on the specific platform would get somewhat less value from the reviews and may need supplemental input from elsewhere to feel good about making the game purchase.

I guess it's one of those striking-a-balance issues. A "How much quality can be sacrificed for convenience?" without losing too much quality or without losing too much convenience. I don't have "the" answer to that. But at least perhaps a note or icon or something identifying the source material for the review, listed in the review, might be an all around positive thing regardless of which way the teeter totter ends up leaning.

And certainly I'd still like to humble ask for Full Meal Deal reviews of the VC versions themselves, while I'm currently expounding endlessly.

@MaxPlastic's comment about us being an "insatiable crowd":

NOW you've gone too far!!!! I demand a retraction!!!
By the way, where the heck is my Pro Wrestling?!?! Where's my A Boy and His Blob???? More!! More, I want more!!!! ............Um, never mind about that retraction.



Kelvin said:

I've let Dazza know about your concerns, so we'll see what happens.

As for myself, when I do review based on a ROM, I do make sure that I make it as close to the VC experience as possible. This means using a control pad (usually a Gamecube one) with the emulator, rather than the original control scheme; it's not perfect but it does often highlight the differences. The Last Ninja games, for example, don't play at all well with a d-pad, but work better using the analogue sticks of the GC or Classic pads.



Betagam7 said:

I wouldn't trust the analogue stick for making those %&**ing jumps over the rivers (why can't ninjas swim!). I found the classic controller D-pad to be alot better and more responsive for Last Ninja than the Wiimote (plus you don't have to keep accessing the online keyboard as the other controls are mapped) but it's good that you at least make the effort to play with a possible VC controller as I'm not sure other reviewers always do and some games suffer badly (particularly N64) from the button layout of the GC.



Captain_Konami said:

Heh, brings back memories of trying to make those jumps across the river using my old atari joystick. It was annoying enough to almost ruin the game for me. A D-pad probably would have been much nicer. I still defer to my D-pad even on my Playstation 2 games that are primarily designed around the sticks. Perhaps the wost thing about the Gamecube was that horribly small D-pad on the Gamecube controllers.



Betagam7 said:

those jumps are a nightmare. I ended up having to take a notepad and meticulously document every jumping pattern so that I could get past it. Most levels took me an hour! Then I found out via a guide that I had forgotten to pick up a key item in one of the earlier levels that was needed for the final level!!! Argh, back to the start for me and painstakingly looking through the notepad.'
My god, why on earth were games so torturously difficult back then!



Captain_Konami said:

Hah. Yeah, I suspect they had to make up for a lack of game length with some "quicksand" points along the way.

But then some of the most satisfying games I can look back on were the ones where they took the challenge right up to the edge of insanity.



Betagam7 said:

Other than the dizzy titles I can't remember many C64 games that I ever managed to complete they were either so long or ridiculously hard that they defied all efforts. The VC's live pause mode is a godsend.
Whoever wrote SNES Jurrasic Park must have been a fan of C64 games.



Bass_X0 said:

yeah, when i first got King of Fighters, I complained that you couldn't pause the game in the middle of a match. but then i remembered about the live pause.



timp29 said:

@ betagam7 LOL that key you're talking about, I spent 5 minutes meticulously positioning my ninja trying to pick it up to my immense frustration. It was then I discovered that you needed the pouch before you could carry the key. After obtaining the pouch it picked up the key first go. Grumble grumble.

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