Memories of a wasted Christmas day...

A second week in a row with a solo WiiWare entry, but a bumper crop of Virtual Console goodness and a hefty helping of DSiWare downloads help make up for it.

Chokkan! Balance Labyrinth (500pts - Gameloft) - Not a new title from Gameloft, but just them publishing Digital Leisure's The Incredible Maze. We weren't terribly impressed with this when it showed up on our shores last year, so it's not clear why Gameloft would bother with it -- especially when there's better versions of this style of game already available.

Virtual Console
Final Fight Tough (800pts Super Famicom - Capcom) - Called Final Fight 3 in the rest of the world, this is regarded as the best version of Final Fight for home systems by many. There's four characters to choose from this time and all the punching and kicking you could ask for.

Now that's tough!

Metal Gear (800pts MSX - Konami) - The game that spawned a decade-spanning franchise started out on the MSX2. It was later ported to the Famicom, but that's generally regarded as an inferior version of the game. An English translation was included in the European MSX port, but apparently half the Japanese dialogue was removed and the rest is of generally poor quality. The original game (and its sequel, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake) was included as an extra on the PS2 game Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, complete with a new English translation. It's not clear how much knowledge of Japanese is required to play Metal Gear as there are radio transmissions to read and information to gain from rescued hostages which may be key to finishing the game, so importers may wish to do a bit of research before jumping in.

Emperor Yie-Gah's Counterattack (800pts MSX - Konami) - Outside of Japan this game is known as Yie Ar Kung Fu 2, a sequel to the arcade fighting game. This sequel departs from the straight-up series of fights of the original and is more of a platform fighting game where each stage sees your character fighting off flying "ninjas" on the way to a final boss fight, which more resembles the first game. This game also offers a new 2-player fighting mode in which the second player is given a choice of one of three bosses to control in a knock-down drag-out with the "Son of Oolong!"

A franchise begins...

Namco Quester (800pts Arcade - Namco) - Namco's version of Breakout/Arkanoid. It looks nice enough, but if you already have Arkanoid Plus! the only real draw is levels with bricks patterns arranged to look like Galaxian flagships and Pac-Man.

Valkyrie no Densetsu (800pts Arcade - Namco) - Unreleased outside of Japan until Namco Museum 5 where it was translated for the first time and given the name "Legend of Valkyrie." It's actually the sequel to a Japanese Famicom game and can be viewed as Namco's version of the Legend of Zelda. The player controls the titular Valkyrie who runs around fighting various monsters with her sword and occasionally chatting to merchants she can buy things from. There's a two-player simultaneous option with the second player controlling a trident-wielding lizard-man. The PC Engine port has been out for a long time in Japan, but that game is quite different from the arcade original with additional stages, save points and a different ending.

Help the demon find his pond!

G.G. Series: Black X Block (200pts - Genterprise) - Another cheap and cheerful game from Genterprise. In this one you control a little man on a grid trying to reach an exit before time runs out. In order to get there you need to bridge gaps and create stairs using tetramino-like black blocks found on the level whilst apparently avoiding the red blocks.

Kokki World Map (200pts - ISP) - A quiz game about the countries of the world with information about 192 UN nations including flags, capitals, language area and population.

Map Map! (200pts - Spike) - A puzzle game collection relating to the map of Japan. There's a game where you need to assemble a map with pieces based upon the prefectures, silhouette quizzes where you need to write the name of the prefecture/region indicated and more.

Artist ni Narou! Minna no Nurikai Shokyuu Hen (500pts - Ertain) - Essentially a colouring book program including virtual pencil drawings on white backgrounds which you can colour in. You can mix up your own colours and apparently apply different texture effects like water colour to the whole thing. Your results can be saved and then put in a virtual frame or even exported to SD card so you can print them off on your home computer.

How are you going to get there?

UNO (500pts - Gameloft) - The classic card game comes to DSi. Of course this has already been released in Europe and you can read our review if you want to know what we thought of it.

Kappa Michi (500pts - Nintendo) - A platforming game where rather than directly controlling a character (in this case a traditional Japanese turtle demon with a bald spot on his giant head), you use your stylus to draw a path for him to follow and remove obstacles along the way.

Detective Saburoo Jinguuji: Rensasuru Noroi & Nazo no Jikenbo (500pts - Arc System Works) - Another Detective Saburoo game; this one looks like it could be an original for DSiWare unlike previous instalments which were ports of mobile phone games.