Friday, July 1

3DS Virtual Console Review Round-Up

The launch of the Virtual Console, and some intriguing recent releases have led to me falling deeply in love with my 3DS.  I've had the console since day one, but it's only now that I've found myself booting it up on a daily basis. Dead or Alive: Dimensions was another toast to the fighting genre's improved health. Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition may have been available since launch, but I only really got around to playing it last month; it was awesome, best online fighting experience available on any platform. The afformentioned Virtual Console has allowed for me to engage with titles that I wanted to play in my youth (and since my youth; starting to get a bit impatient after today's update however. One game only). Last week also saw the release of the critically-lauded The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, re-imagined in three dimensions (forgive me for waxing lyrical; truth be told I didn't really care for it when I first played it on the Nintendo 64). It finally feels as though Nintendo's new portable is hitting its stride.

Three weeks into the new eCommerce channel's life and I've got some recommendations for you. Not many, but enough to justify a post all the same.

Super Mario Land - $6 AU 
This is not your typical Mario title. Sure, there's plenty of platforming and fire flowers to please series faithful, but everyone's favourite plumber is packing some lead in his overalls. By that of course, I mean that Mario falls heavy and fast from any height; unlike more recent iterations where you feel as though you have a little more control over your descent. Side-scrolling vehicular shooting also serves to break up the action and is functional, even enjoyable. Interestingly enough (Spoiler Alert), the final boss fight follows this format and is a genuine challenge. Enemies and level design are varied, but start to get cheap towards the end. Cheap to the point where the console's Restore Point feature was required for me to finish the game. With the use of the Restore Point, I was able to finish the game in an hour. That being said however, there's a Hard difficulty unlocked upon finishing the game and you could happily spend hours trying to beat the game using naught but your own abilities.

How all great adventures start.

The Verdict
If you feel any love for classic platforming and don't mind some side-scrolling shooting, Super Mario Land is well worth the price of admission. By no means is this Mario's greatest adventure, but it has aged pretty well all things considered. 

Double Dragon - $4.50 AU
I've played Double Dragon on many different platforms. The Sega Master System and Arcade version were somewhat similar, but this Game Boy version is a completely different monster. It is cheap beyond belief; rigid platforming and powerful boss characters would have elicited streams of tears if I was playing this on the 3DS' AA battery-powered predecessor. Once again, thanks to the Restore Point feature of the portable console's emulator, I can defeat the burliest of adversaries. I can cheat death. I can rewind time, and chip away Double Dragon's once impenetrable challenges. Cheap death after cheap death, I kept playing; drunk with power. Without the ability to save I was still able to make it half way through the third "mission," though. I relished the challenge until my curiosity got the better of me and I saw the treachery that appeared past my best effort. Unlike Super Mario Land, this is not a game that can be conquered without the use of assistance.

 Save me, Restore Point! Lord knows I can't save myself.

The Verdict
Great, cheap - in respect to both price and design - fun. The soundtrack and classic beat 'em-up action will serve a good hour or two of fun to be sure. I love it, but if you're not a fan of failure or unfair level design: you'd best leave this alone.

That should be the end of my 3DS coverage for the time being. I've just started playing F.3.A.R or Fthreear depending on your level of beligerence. The visuals aren't too special, but the visceral gunplay coupled with the added ability to take cover is proving to be very enjoyable. That, and Contractions is Zombies mode (from Call of Duty: World at War/Black Ops) done right.

What are you guys playing this weekend?

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