Features: Games That Should Already Be on Virtual Console
Posted by Marcel van Duyn
Four years later, which great titles still aren't available?
The Wii was released over four years ago, and alongside it came Virtual Console. Over time, some of the greatest titles of the 80's and 90's have been made available for digital download, but we can't help but feel that there are still some significant titles inexplicably missing from the line-up. We've put together a list of 11 games (or groups of games) that we think should already be available. Nintendo, get on the case!
More Import Games
We've had our fair share of great import games already, but there's still a few that we think Nintendo could easily release outside Japan without having to worry too much about translation. Of course, we won't be seeing games like Super Famicom Wars, one of the predecessors of the Advance Wars series, or the old Fire Emblem titles, due to its heavy reliance on text.
It's strange, however, that we haven't received games like Nazo no Murasamejou for the Famicom Disk System, which Japan's Virtual Console already has. It has a whole game mode based on it in Samurai Warriors 3 for the Wii, which was still intact in the Western release, leading us to wonder why Nintendo didn't take advantage of that by releasing the game on VC to promote it as it has done with other games in the past.
Two more import Nintendo games we'd like to see are Wrecking Crew '98, the lesser-known sequel to Wrecking Crew, and Sutte Hakkun, both very unique SNES puzzle games. Wrecking Crew '98 includes its predecessor as a bonus, but if Nintendo's really that worried about losing sales over that, they could just edit it out. Sutte Hakkun has already been released on VC in Japan, so there's clearly no problems there.
Superior SNES Versions of NES Games
Let's be real here: we've had Wario's Woods for the NES since the service started, and Yoshi's Cookie turned up not too long after. Anybody who wanted the NES versions will have bought them by now, so why not release the much better SNES versions of the two?
Not only do they offer more modes, they've clearly got better graphics and sound. It would make sense if Nintendo was reluctant to release the NES games if it had released the SNES ones first, as they would be the cheaper option, but the 8-bit versions have probably reached the limit of sales they could possibly hope to get in these four years they've been available. Releasing the 16-bit versions would surely more money from people who deliberately waited as well as people who want to upgrade.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Master Quest
This Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time "expansion" was originally planned for the failed Nintendo 64DD, which was only released in Japan. However, despite what some people may think, the game never actually saw a release, and it wasn't until the GameCube that people would be able to play it as a bonus included with the first prints of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. The only actual difference from Ocarina of Time was that dungeons had completely different puzzles and enemies, generally requiring you to go through the rooms in a totally different and often more difficult order.
So while this wouldn't actually be a Virtual Console title, as nobody got it until the GameCube, it'd be great to have it available anyway. Nintendo doesn't seem to be averse to releasing "unreleased" games, as it is heavily rumoured that the Virtual Console version of Sin and Punishment was in fact the half-finished translation of the game for the Nintendo 64 (a North American release was originally planned).
Another Nintendo 64DD game that would be great to have would be the F-Zero X Expansion Kit, which allowed players to create their own tracks and featured some new music for the existing tracks, although we don’t think this would work well due to the track creator requiring some minor Japanese knowledge.
Excitebike 64, Pilotwings 64 and Donkey Kong 64
The last N64 games Nintendo has left, other than Mario Party and Mario Party 3, of which the first is not likely due to certain issues with the notorious analogue stick rotation minigame.
With Excitebike on NES, Excitebike: World Rally, a Excite Truck and a ExciteBots all available on the Wii, it's a bit strange that the N64 instalment hasn't seen the light of day yet (Other than the easily removable emulated original), as it would mean that the entire franchise would be available on one console. This instalment pretty much captures the essence of the original in 3D perfectly: where is it?
Pilotwings 64, however, may simply be being kept to promote the upcoming Pilotwings Resort. t's a subject of much debate whether this one or the original is better, but one thing's for sure: both rock.
Donkey Kong 64 is the tough case here, as it's another game faced by certain problems. Not only is Jetpac, a game owned by Rare, included as a bonus, it also comes with the arcade version of the original Donkey Kong, which Nintendo might think would cost it sales of the NES game. It's not as if both games can simply be cut either, as you have to play both of them to completion to beat the game. This also brings us to our next point.
Nintendo's Arcade Games
For the most part, Nintendo's been very good about showing an example of how to support its VC systems. But not for the Virtual Console Arcade, as it hasn’t released a single game for it. Initially, we thought it would be reluctant to do so as they'd cost the same price as NES games, but with Sega generally releasing its arcade games for 800 Wii Points instead of 500, why couldn't Nintendo just do the same?
It's quite shocking that Donkey Kong, the game that made Shigeru Miyamoto famous, has never been perfectly ported to any system in the 30 years it has existed – Donkey Kong 64's version came extremely close, but for some reason it starts at a higher speed than normal to make things more difficult.
Other great candidates would be the arcade versions of Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong Jr., as well as the special "Vs." series, which were modified versions of NES games that allowed simultaneous 2-player versus play, rather than alternating, like Vs. Super Mario Bros. and Vs. Wrecking Crew.
Tetris Attack and EarthBound
Both of these games seem to have legal troubles associated with them preventing their release on Virtual Console, but as Nintendo has shown its willingness to edit things in other games every now and then there's no reason it couldn't just do it again.
While there is arguably no reason to have Tetris Attack on VC with Pokémon Puzzle League already available, but having the first Panel de Pon game released in the West once again would be most welcome. The Tetris Attack title never made any sense since the game has nothing to do with Tetris, so Nintendo could easily simply edit the game's title to "Yoshi's Puzzle League" or something similar, if that's really the only reason behind its absence.
EarthBound is of course a much trickier case, with many theories saying that there are huge problems with the game's music, which is more than just "inspired" by some very popular songs of the past. This is perhaps one game we'll never see on the service: it says quite a lot that Japan had a demo of the game in Super Smash Bros. Brawl but still doesn't have the whole thing on Virtual Console; nor the first Mother game, for that matter.
Star Fox, Super Mario World 2 and Stunt Race FX
Other than the special cases above, these are pretty much the last SNES games developed by Nintendo and originally released worldwide we don't have yet. The only likely problem that's prevented their release so far is the fact they all used the Super FX chip in their original form, and Nintendo may be having problems emulating it. Still, these games, especially the first two, are some of the most highly requested VC games still out there, and Nintendo would be crazy not to release them.
Star Fox would be a good tie-in to Star Fox 64 3DS, and we hope Nintendo thinks the same. Although not officially part of the series anymore (Star Fox 64 supposedly tells the "true" story) many people still think this is the best game in the franchise, and the graphics were incredibly impressive for its time.
Some people were disappointed that Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island had almost nothing to do with the first game, and although Nintendo doesn't even consider it part of the Mario platformer series, fans still frequently call it one of the best Mario games out there.
Stunt Race FX is a fairly standard racing game, but it's notable for being one of the only SNES games other than Star Fox to be 3D. In fact, it was even made by the same developers, so if we can have one title we can hopefully have both.
Blizzard's SNES Games
Blizzard’s main focus these days is World of Warcraft; it’s clearly not doing anything with its old franchises, like The Lost Vikings, Rock & Roll Racing and BlackThorne, so why not rerelease the SNES versions on Virtual Console? All three of them actually received ports to the Game Boy Advance in 2003, which also happens to be the last time any of them were released.
The Lost Vikings features the lovable Erik, Olaf and Baleog as they bumble their way through time to various strange locations, in the quest to simply find their way back home. It's still completely unique for the fact you control three characters, one at a time, with each having their own special abilities which all need to be used together to make it home alive. It also saw a sequel which really just has more of the same.
BlackThorne is also an action platformer, but the puzzle element is much, much lighter and it's not really as fondly remembered as the Vikings, though it's still a pretty decent game. Rock 'n Roll Racing is the least likely to appear of the three, as a very entertaining isometric racer with just one big problem: it features actual licensed music by the likes of Black Sabbath and others.
The Remaining Enix Games
Many of us got our hopes up when one of the very first Virtual Console releases was ActRaiser, but since then we've only seen VC games from Enix's big brother Square, in the form of the Final Fantasy titles.
But where's ActRaiser 2, the sequel that does away with the strategy element and features straight-up platforming exclusively? It may not nearly be as good, but it's still a fun game. There's also Robotrek and, naturally, the Dragon Quest/Warrior games, both very competent RPGs that rival Square's output.
It's great that Square seems to be releasing every single game it’s made on the service (Final Fantasy VI being one of the only ones left), but it's been about four years since the last Enix game, and we think it’s time Enix got another chance in the spotlight.
Of course you know what we're talking about: the NES Zapper, SNES Super Scope and SNES Mouse. Across the three, there's a large amount of awesome games like Yoshi's Safari, Mario Paint, Gumshoe, Mario & Wario (which would also be an import) and, of course, the famous Duck Hunt, none of which have received a Virtual Console release so far, most likely due to the work that would be required.
Of course we can't deny that it would take some effort to make the games work, but we think every single one of these would work perfectly fine with the Wii Remote's pointer. Duck Hunt's a pretty simple game, but it's arguably one of the most well-known NES games out there – ask anyone to name a game for the system and it's likely Duck Hunt will be a frequently heard response, and plenty of people would buy it based on nostalgia alone.
On top of that, Zappers and Super Scopes don't work with many modern TVs, rendering the games unplayable for those that still have them, without somehow getting hold of an older TV. Modernising the titles with Wii Remote controls would be an all-round winner.
Third-Party Nintendo 64 Games
Arguably the most important entry on the list, it's crazy that we've only seen one single third-party game on the Nintendo 64 Virtual Console during its entire life. That was Ogre Battle, and it wasn't really that big of a surprise; although published by Square Enix on VC, it was originally published by Nintendo when released in Japan.
Other than it, however, we've seen nothing from other developers. Where's Konami, with the Goemon and Castlevania games? Capcom, with Mega Man 64, and many other smaller companies with their first forays into 3D?
Nintendo's getting close to running out of Nintendo 64 games itself, and since we're already not seeing them often to begin with (about three per year, at the current rate), what will happen once they are completely out of their own games to release? Will we just never see another N64 game on the service?
Although there are of course many more games we'd love to see on Virtual Console, we feel these represent some of the most important ones out there. How about you? Which games do you think the VC still absolutely needs?