Thursday, June 7, 2012

The LoadDown: 06/07/2012

This week's roundup is seriously overdue due to a busy schedule of late, so I'm playing catchup from the last several weeks.  Here's what's newish during that timeframe... there's been quite a lot of retro material lately!  Maybe summertime is the season to bring back the back catalogs and save the new titles for fall.

WiiWare -- Once again this platform is quiet.  Oddly, its sibling has been more active again.  Wii U's a comin', boys.

Wii Virtual Console --  A couple of Neo*Geo titles were released, courtesy of SNK Playmore.  Metal Slug 3, already available on Wii as part of the Metal Slug Anthology released on disc a few years back, is still a worthy entry in this popular Neo*Geo series, with fluid, arcade-quality cartoon animation.  The Last Blade does what the Neo*Geo often did best, presenting a fluid one-on-one fighting game inspired by feudal Japan.

DSiWare --  Several new titles arrived.  99Seconds is a sequel to 99Bullets, an abstract arcade-style shooter with a time slow/rewind mechanic.  Kakuro by Nikoli collects 50 of these Sudoku-esque number deduction puzzles.  Curling Super Championship is one of the few videogames focused on this ice-bowling sport, with stylus-controlled sweeping action.  Cat Frenzy is a match-3 puzzle game with feline artwork.  And the bootleg-sounding Snakenoid borrows heavily from Taito's Arkanoid, with the player controlling a snake instead of a paddle.

3DS eShop --  A number of titles debuted, though few -- wait, NONE of them is truly new.  One notable name is Rayman, a classic platformer with colorful, detailed animation; unfortunately, it's not a 3DS remake, but an old Game Boy Color port that manages a credible imitation of the original but could be so much better on the 3DS.  The same goes for Prince of Persia -- brand name, version lame.  At least there's Game & Watch Gallery 2, Game Boy Color versions of 5 classic Nintendo LCD-based handhelds with simulated original and updated color graphics.  Art of Balance TOUCH! brings the WiiWare physics puzzler to the 3DS.  There's also a demo version of time-management restaurant game Order Up!!, and a demo of retail title LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes.

XBox Live Arcade -- Lots of vintage content here.  Digital Leisure has released the classic Don Bluth laserdisc game, Dragon's Lair, yet again.  Four Sega Vintage Collections have arrived, presenting classic games from the Sega Master System and Genesis -- one featuring Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Super Hang-On and The Revenge of Shinobi; one compiling Wonder Boy in Monster Land, Wonder Boy in Monster World, and the never-before-released-in-America Monster Land IV; the trilogy combo of Streets of Rage 1-3; and another set featuring the Golden Axe trilogy.  Oddly, XBLA has seen a trilogy of racers -- Joy Ride Turbo, Mad Riders and Bang Bang Racing.  And Sega's sequel, Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown, a port of the latest iteration of its long-running coin-op franchise.  Sega has been doing this recently, creating new coin-op arcade games with plans for downloadable porting to home consoles -- oh, how the mighty arcades have fallen!

PS3 on PSN --  I'll start with the PS3-only items.  Pure Chess is a chess game with player-vs.-CPU and player-vs.-player online play.  Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock, based on the extremely long-running BBC sci-fi series, features voice work by current Doctor Matt Smith, Alex Kingston and Nicholas Briggs; unfortunately the gameplay seems to consist of awkward platforming and occasional puzzles, when fans might have preferred a proper adventure game.  Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale finally makes it to the PS3; it's a hack-and-slash action/RPG that received middling reviews on other platforms.  Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown and Mad Riders are on the PS3 too, as well as individually-packaged Sega Vintage titles Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Super Hang-On, The Revenge of Shinobi, Wonder Boy in Monster Land, Wonder Boy in Monster World, and Monster Land IV

PSOne Classics --  Classic survival horror adventure Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare is now available.

Notable on Steam -- XSEED has begun releasing some Japanese PC games in the US via Steam, with Falcom's Ys Origins arriving recently - an Ys series game previously unreleased in America.  A computer version of the board game Ticket to Ride also makes it to Steam, following console releases a while back.

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