This year brought two new systems to the Virtual Console with the Commodore 64 computer added to the European Virtual Console and the Sega Master System added to both the European and North American Virtual Console services. We also saw a host of new releases on the systems already available on the service including some very high profile titles.
As 2008 comes to a close, we at Virtual Console Reviews thought it might be time to take a look back at a handful of the best Virtual Console titles released in 2008. Below you'll find five 2008 releases that we consider to be the best the service has to offer and games that are worth every single Wii Point they cost.
5. Phantasy Star IV (Mega Drive)
While we have yet to see the original Sega Master System Phantasy Star title released on the Virtual Console, fans of the series did finally get the fourth installment on the Virtual Console this year. Phantasy Star IV is considered by many rpg fans to be the best game in the series and it won't take you long to see why that is once you begin playing the game. The game presents an epic rpg quest that's surrounded by 16-bit graphics and sounds and is easily one of the best rpgs available for the Mega Drive and one outstanding addition to the Virtual Console service.
Phantasy Star IV review
4. Star Parodier (TurboGrafx-16)
If it's one thing the Turbografx-16 console had plenty of it's shooters. We've already seen a large number of Turbografx-16 shooters released on the Virtual Console, but Star Parodier represents one of the greatest shooters the console has to offer and one that up until the Virtual Console release, had never been available outside of Japan. Now gamers around the world can enjoy this unique and enjoyable cute 'em up in all its glory. The game even has a very delicate difficulty curve so gamers of any skill can enjoy the game without becoming overwhelmed. Having said that, the game does get quite challenging in the final levels, so it's still worth a play, even for seasoned shooter fans.
Star Parodier review
3. DoReMi Fantasy (Super Nintendo)
DoReMi Fantasy is yet another import title that had only been available in Japan up until the game was finally released by Hudson on the Virtual Console service. Not only is this one of the greatest platformers to come out of the 16-bit era, it also features some really amazing Super NES graphical effects to add to the already impressive 16-bit visuals. While the Super Mario Bros. titles have long dominated the platforming genre on the various Nintendo consoles, Hudson managed to create a game that could easily hold its own against many of the higher profile platforming titles available on the Super Nintendo console.
DoReMi Fantasy review
2. Lords of Thunder (TurboGrafx-16)
Lords of Thunder is one of the greatest shooters ever made for any console. Once we saw the release of Gate of Thunder on the Virtual Console, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that its sequel, Lords of Thunder, couldn't be too far behind it. Combing some of the most intense shooter action ever seen in a video game with what is easily one of the most hard-rocking video game soundtracks ever crafted, Lords of Thunder takes the shooter genre to new heights and continues to be one of the all-time great shooter experiences in the history of video games. An absolute must-have for any shooter fan.
Lords of Thunder review
1. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (Super Nintendo)
RPG fans had to wait a long time for Nintendo and Square-Enix to finally release their rpg masterpiece on the Virtual Console, but most fans agree that it was well worth the wait. The game somehow manages to combine the unique and loveable Super Mario characters with a traditional turn-based rpg combat system and does so in a way that creates a nearly flawless rpg experience. The rendered visuals are among the best the Super Nintendo console ever saw and are a testament to just how powerful Nintendo's 16-bit workhorse truly was. Super Mario RPG is hands down the best Virtual Console release of 2008, and if the truth be told, it's probably the best Virtual Console release period.
Super Mario RPG review
Well you've read our Top 5 Virtual Console titles of 2008. Now we'd like to hear what you have to say. And feel free to be as pithy and condescending as you'd like to be. We can take it.