We've seen many of the bigger hits for each of the consoles available on the Virtual Console already released, but there are still quite a few gems that have yet to see a release on the service. With that, we decided to take a moment to put together a list of ten classic game titles we'd like to see released on the Virtual Console in 2009.
Now we know that there are still quite a few games that didn't make the list that probably deserved to, but when we put this list together we wanted to try to include some games that some gamers might not have expected to see on the list. By that same token, we did try to choose games that at least have a reasonable chance of seeing a release on the Virtual Console, but as we've already seen with the service, there are no guarantees. Also keep in mind that these games are in no discernible order. With that said, let's get on with the list of games.
Yoshi's Island (SNES) - Sure the game uses the Super FX2 chip and of course it would take some extra effort in order to properly emulate the game on the Virtual Console, but surely the Wii has enough horsepower under the hood to pull it off. Yoshi's Island was easily one of the most successful titles released for the Super NES console and many gamers, even those who owned a Super Nintendo console during the 16-bit era, missed the game due to it being released so late in the console's lifespan. The game featured a very unique graphic style and a completely new play control system, but at its core, the game still felt very much like the Super Mario World sequel it was intended to be. We think most fans would agree that it would be worth the extra time and effort to try to get this game running on the Virtual Console.
Phantasy Star (SMS) - Phantasy Star is an obvious choice when you consider that it's probably one of the best, if not the best Sega Master System games yet to be released on the Virtual Console. The game made use of a hybrid rpg style that basically bridged the gap between personal computer rpgs and console rpgs. You still had some of the typical first-person perspective dungeon crawling sequences to deal with, but many of the other aspects of the game, such as exploring the over world and battling monsters, took place in a very console-oriented style of play. Toss in a unique space theme and a very impressive 8-bit musical score and what you have is one of the best and most unique rpgs to come out of the 8-bit era and arguably the best rpg available for the Sega Master System.
Soul Blazer (SNES) - We've seen Actraiser released on the Virtual Console, so that fact alone would lend itself to the possibility of Square-Enix releasing Soul Blazer, especially since we've yet to see any of the Soul Blazer series re-released on other consoles or handheld systems. Soul Blazer ranks up there as one of the best action-rpgs ever crafted and even brings over some of the unique game play elements of Actraiser to make the game stand out from the crowd. The game also features one of the most unique and heartfelt storylines ever experienced in an rpg. Roll all of these attractive features into one game and you have an action rpg that every fan of the genre should experience at least once. Come on Square-Enix, we appreciate Secret of Mana, but we'd like to see Soul Blazer on the Virtual Console as well.
Thunder Force III (Mega Drive) - In all honesty, we'd kill to see any of the Mega Drive Thunder Force titles released on the Virtual Console, but we decided to narrow our choice down to Thunder Force III since it's widely considered to be the best of the 16-bit Thunder Force releases. We saw a lot of shooter releases early on when the Virtual Console was first getting started, but there's been a bit of a drought as of late and there's no better place to get things rolling again than with the Thunder Force series. Thunder Force III made use of some of the most advanced Mega Drive sprite functions available and really pushed the hardware when it came to visual flash. If you like your shooters tough and intense, the Thunder Force titles will be right up your alley.
Nightmare in the Dark (Neo Geo) - Nightmare in the Dark represents one of the more expensive Neo Geo titles out there and one that any Neo Geo fan would obviously love to see released on the Virtual Console for less than $10. The game has some game play influences from the Snow Bros. and Bubble Bobble titles, and combines platforming action with shooting and puzzle game influences to form one of the most unique Neo Geo titles available for the system. The spooky theme of the game and wildly creative boss fights all come together to form a game that's addictive and fun to play. This is another game that came late in its system's life cycle, which might explain why the game went so unnoticed, not to mention became ridiculously expensive over time. The insane rarity alone is good enough reason for SNK-Playmore to release this enjoyable title on the Wii Virtual Console.
Rygar (NES) - Rygar originally gained popularity in arcades back in the 80's, but many gamers aren't aware that a slightly modified version of the game was released on the NES console during the 8-bit era. The game took many of the same game play elements from the arcade title, but added in more adventure-style elements that gave the game a much more varied feel to it and provided a lot more depth to the entire experience as well. The game could be quite difficult to beat, but given the fact that the game seemed to get better the further into it you progressed, there was always plenty of motivation to keep trying. Rygar is easily one of the most overlooked game releases available for the NES and a game that deserves a second chance on the Virtual Console service.
Lost Vikings (SNES) - Although this game didn't exactly break sales records during its original release on the Super NES and Sega Mega Drive consoles, it's another title that's garnered a huge cult following over the years and has seen releases on various game consoles and personal computers over the past decade. Combining a unique mix of platforming and puzzle elements, The Lost Vikings is one of those games that's nearly impossible to put down once you begin playing it. The silly and sometimes crude humor just adds even more fun to the mix and produces a game that's one of the real gems of the 16-bit era of gaming.
Dracula X: Rondo of Blood (TG16) - We already know that Hudson has stated that they're not currently planning on releasing any more of their TurboGrafx-16 titles on the Virtual Console outside of Japan, but we just couldn't bring ourselves to leave this amazing action-platformer off the list. The game was remade for the PSP system not long ago, but this game has still not seen a release outside of Japan on a home gaming console and that's a real shame considering how outstanding the game truly is. Combining the trademark platforming action of the early Castlevania titles with some of the absolute best video game music ever composed, Rondo of Blood proves to be one of the best and most beloved Castlevania titles available for any gaming platform. Maybe Konami will eventually get on the stick and find a way to get this amazing title out on the Virtual Console.
Contra Hard Corps (Mega Drive) - We've seen a few Contra releases on the Virtual Console already, but this oft-forgotten Mega Drive classic is still a favorite among run 'n' gun fans across the globe. Combining many of the classic elements of the original arcade releases, Contra Hard Corps adds in a few new elements to the mix to give the game its own unique style. It's also worth noting that this release in the series has never seen a release on any other console over the years. This title might not have the popularity of the Contra III release on the Super Nintendo console, but it's still one of the best Mega Drive action titles and one that should have already been released on the Virtual Console.
Earthbound (SNES) - This unique Super Nintendo rpg title represents the only release of the series outside of Japan, but has garnered one of the biggest cult followings of any classic rpg in history. It's difficult to understand why Nintendo still hasn't released the game on the Virtual Console as of yet, but given the lack of popularity at the time of its release, maybe Nintendo feels like the game wouldn't sell well outside of Japan. No matter what the reason is, this is easily one of the most sought-after Super NES releases with cartridge prices eclipsing $80 on the various online auction services. This fact alone makes it a prime candidate for a release on the Virtual Console, if only to save gamers from having to pony up for the actual Super NES cartridge.
Well there you have it, The Ten Games We'd Like To See On The Virtual Console in 2009 in all of their glory. If you're wondering why there were no Nintendo 64 games on the list, the reason is quite simple; Nintendo would rather play hopscotch in a mine field than release a Nintendo 64 game on the Virtual Console, so we decided to exclude the obvious choice of Majora's Mask and give its spot to a game from another console. We also wanted to include Star Fox, but we felt like Yoshi's Island would be a good spokesman for the Super FX titles, so it got the nod instead.
Now it's time for you the readers to sound off. So without further ado, let the carnage begin!