Latest Reviews

  • Review Bio-Hazard Battle (Virtual Console / Sega Mega Drive)

    An army of biogenetic mutants has gone haywire, terrorizing the world and putting the future of the planet in jeopardy.

    Released as Crying in Japan, this horizontally scrolling shooter was largely ignored by western Megadrive owners due to the sheer volume of shoot-em-ups available on the console at the time. The unusual organic graphics probably...

  • Review The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Close To Perfection, And An Absolute Must-Play

    Just in time

    This review originally went live in 2007, and we're republishing it to mark the arrival of N64 games on Nintendo Switch Online. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time did for the Zelda series what Super Mario 64 did for the Super Mario Bros. series. It successfully brought one of the most beloved game series in video game history into...

  • Review Streets of Rage (Wii Virtual Console / Mega Drive)

    Sega's answer to Final Fight

    It's tricky to review Streets of Rage and be fair to it in light of the high quality of its sequel. Nevertheless it laid the foundations for even more future greatness, so it is only fair to give the original game the respect it deserves. Basically, Streets of Rage is Sega's answer to Final Fight; the Axel character is a...

  • Review The Legend of Kage (NES)

    This classic ninja-action game first appeared in arcades in 1985 and became instantly popular.

    After the recent release of the sublime Kid Icarus you might have expected the quality of NES Virtual Console games to rise, but unfortunately The Legend of Kage is an almost catastrophic true drop in standards. No need for rose tinted specs here, retro...

  • Review Excitebike (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

    This bike still excites

    Excitebike will no doubt be remembered fondly by older gamers. After all, it was one of the original launch titles for the NES way back in 1985. Some might be dubious and question if a game this old is worth purchasing for the Virtual Console, but worry not — this classic game has somehow managed to retain its appeal...

  • Review New Adventure Island (Virtual Console / TurboGrafx-16)

    Move over Wonder Boy

    The Wonder Boy and Adventure Island games have seen releases on just about every 8 and 16-bit console you can think of, not to mention a few remakes on some of the more recent systems. Having said that, if you want to play the best the series has to offer, you need only download New Adventure Island on the Wii Virtual Console to...

  • Review Ice Climber (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

    Ice Ice Baby

    Ice Climber is another classic NES title for the Virtual Console — and thankfully, it's decent enough to be worth considering for download. Ice Climber is a fantastic little game, if somewhat basic. Graphically it's exactly what you'd expect an 8-bit game from 1985 to look like — simple. The premise of the game is pretty bizarre. A...

  • Review Kid Icarus (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

    Is Pit a hit?

    Kid Icarus is one of those games that makes you think 'they sure don't make them like they used to'. Graphically it's very basic - this is from 1986 after all - but the charm simply shines through regardless. This is a game from an era where developers had to really make an effort and use what simple technology they had available to...

  • Review Kirby's Adventure (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

    Kirby's first adventure

    Kirby’s Adventure was released in 1993 when many gamers had packed up their NES in favour of the shiny new Sega Mega Drive / Genesis or a SNES. Those who stayed faithful to the mighty grey toaster and picked up this game at the time would have been in for a real treat. It really pushed the boundaries of the NES hardware,...

  • Review Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

    The black sheep of the family?

    Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is often referred to as the black sheep of the Zelda family. Unlike the original Zelda games, the top-down perspective is replaced in favour of side-scrolling platform action, similar to that found in Castlevania. Perhaps more significantly than that, it is the only Zelda game to offer...

  • Review Super Mario World (Wii Virtual Console / Super Nintendo)

    Simply superb

    It was hailed as the greatest videogame of all time when it was released, and even after all these years it still has a pretty solid claim to that title. Super Mario World is without a shadow of a doubt one of our favourite Mario games, and when SNES was released some members of our staff played very little else until they'd discovered...

  • Review Vigilante (TG-16)

    Brave the streets of New York City in this side-scrolling beat-'em-up

    Essentially Vigilante is a modernised version of Irem's classic Kung-Fu Master. It's the usual damsel in distress routine. Your gal Madonna is thrown in the back of the baddies truck and whisked away. It is your job to go through various stages to finally rescue her from her...

  • Review Gain Ground (MD)

    It's the 31st Century, and science and technology have progressed to the point that the human race is approaching perfection.

    Gain Ground started life as a largely unpopular 3 player arcade game. Surprisingly when taking into account the relative lack of commercial success it was ported to the Sega Megadrive/Genesis and Master System pretty swiftly...

  • Review Bonanza Bros (Virtual Console / Sega Mega Drive)

    Grab the target items and head for the exit!

    Bonanza Bros. harkens back to the early 80's arcade titles with their simple, yet addictive play control ideas. While there are obvious Keystone Kapers and Elevator Action influences throughout the game, the overall gameplay design is at least original enough to stand on its own two feet. The only problem...

  • Review Comix Zone (MD)

    Sketch Turner is an artist in New York City. One day while Sketch is drawing, there is a huge thunderstorm and a bolt of lightning hits Sketch's image, bringing it to life.

    Released fairly late in the life of the Megadrive/Genesis, Comix Zone didn't exactly set the world alight in terms of sales but is now rightly regarded as one of the better games...

  • Review Mario Kart 64 (Virtual Console / Nintendo 64)

    Mario Kart gets a 64-bit upgrade!

    To say that the original Super Mario Kart was a huge hit for the Super Nintendo console would be a mammoth understatement. The game caught gamers by storm and kicked off a series that's still producing new titles some 17 years later. So when Nintendo released their Nintendo 64 console, gamers knew that it was only a...

  • Review The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Wii Virtual Console / Super Nintendo)

    A Link to a Classic

    To put it simply, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is one of the finest RPGs in existence. Everything is perfect - the bold lines and subtle pastel-tones of the graphics, the triumphant rendition of the Zelda theme, the excellent yet simple combat system, the brilliantly conceived logic puzzles. Nintendo left nothing to...

  • Review Contra III: The Alien Wars (Wii Virtual Console / Super Nintendo)

    Run 'n gun

    Konami really went all out with this title, the third instalment to the Contra series (or Probotector to gamers in the PAL regions). The development team at the time must have relished the challenge of developing on the Super Nintendo as this is one of the more impressive games on the system; the experience is a good deal bigger and...

  • Review R-Type III: The Third Lightning (SNES)

    The Bydo Empire is back! More powerful and deadlier than ever, the Bydo are en-route to Earth.

    R-Type III is an interesting title in many ways. Firstly, it was a console exclusive, which generated quite a stir when it was first published. Secondly it takes advantage of the Super NES 'Mode 7' graphics to bring rotating backgrounds into play. Thirdly,...

  • Review Xevious (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

    Golden oldie

    Following its success with Pac-Man and Galaga in the arcades, it seemed that Namco was unstoppable. The release of Xevious only helped to cement this idea: it was first one of the earliest examples of a vertical scrolling shooter and innovative for its time. The action in Xevious takes place on two parallel plains; your spacecraft gets...

  • Review Gradius (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

    Konami's classic shooter series takes off

    It's so hard to review a game like Gradius. This is a near-legendary title and has inspired a franchise that has sold millions, not to mention the spin-off series Parodius and countless other clones. But when reviewing classic retro titles, you have to judge if this game is still worth playing today...

  • Review Soldier Blade (TG-16)

    A fun shooter in the Star Soldier tradition

    One thing that can be said for sure is that if you owned a TurboGrafx console you would never be in short supply of shoot-em-up games! For anyone who is a big fan of the genre it is great news that Hudson has brought one of the most respected games of the genre to the Virtual Console. Soldier Blade is a...

  • Review Moto Roader (TG-16)

    The action in this racing game is viewed from above and features rotational controls.

    Every once in awhile you come across a game that just makes you scratch your head and wonder what someone was thinking when they let a game like this actually get released. After the success of RC Pro-Am and Micro Machines on the NES, overhead racers began to gain...

  • Review Baseball (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

    Batter up!

    Nintendo’s Baseball was actually a launch title for the NES way back in 1985. With unknown brands like Ice Climber and Gyromite it made perfect sense for Nintendo to have a representation of a popular sports game to attract sceptics to their new console. Predictably enough, it’s now horribly dated. The gameplay itself just focuses on...

  • Review Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (Wii Virtual Console / Super Nintendo)

    Fighting Street

    To say that the original Street Fighter II was a genre-defining game would be the understatement of the century. Not only did the game take the one-on-one fighting game idea and take it to heights never before reached, it also single-handedly kicked off a fighting game craze that's still in full swing to this very day and spawned...

  • Review Super Castlevania IV (Wii Virtual Console / Super Nintendo)

    Castlevania goes super

    Every now and then you play a game that simply changes your life. To me, Super Castlevania IV is that game. I recall playing it at a friend's house and regardless of the slow pace of the first few levels, it had a real impact on me. The game was quickly purchased and hasn't left my collection since. If your Castlevania...

  • Review R-Type (Wii Virtual Console / TurboGrafx-16)

    This is R type of game!

    R-Type is widely considered one of, if not the greatest shooters every created. But kick off any conversation with a shooter fan about R-Type and you're likely to get a 10 minute rant on how excruciatingly difficult the game is. Over the years, shooters have come and gone. Some have been good and some have been bad, but in...

  • Review ToeJam & Earl (MD)

    Toe Jam and Earl are two fun-loving aliens

    This is a very strange game. It was hugely popular at the time and most Megadrive / Genesis gamers at the time will probably remember the wacky lead characters, but how does it fare today? The action is played from a top-down view. As either Tom Jam or Earl you must search the planet Funkatron for all the...

  • Review Tennis (Wii Virtual Console / NES)

    Anyone for Tennis?

    Tennis was one of the launch titles for the NES way back in 1985, and it succeeded in winning new gamers to the system in much the same way as Wii Sports. That begs the question, of course, why bother with this if you already have Wii Sports Tennis, which you got as a freebie with your Wii? Well for a start you control the...

  • Review Space Harrier II (MD)

    Fantasyland has been taken over by destructive forces, and a call for help comes from deep in the universe.

    I'm sure most 80's gamers can recall their first brush with the arcade Space Harrier - it was like looking into the future. The silky-smooth sprite scaling coupled with the excellent sound and futuristic feel made this an instant coin-op...