Monday, November 29, 2010

The LoadDown - 11/29/2010

Post-Thanksgiving week arrives, and the holiday ramp-up continues with plenty of new downloadable titles for all the console platforms, especially the PS3.

WiiWare -- Two new games and a demo this week.  Airport Mania: First Flight is a time-management game including air traffic control and travel planning tasks.  HB Arcade Disc Golf is a disc (frisbee) golf game starring cartoon animals, with two courses; more are apparently planned as downloadable content.  And a free demo version of Cave Story hopes to get more people to purchase this excellent retro-style adventure.

Wii Virtual Console -- The Neo-Geo platform has been pretty active lately.  This week brings Data East's 1996 arcade puzzler, Magical Drop II, to the Virtual Console; companion game Magical Drop III was released for the Wii as part of the Data East Arcade Classics disc compilation earlier this year.

DSiWare -- Three new games this week.  The excellent Cave Story arrives on the DSi.  Frenzic is yet another intense puzzle game.  Spot It! Challenge brings the popular seek-and-find books to the DSi as a timed hidden object puzzle game.

XBox Live Arcade -- Just one game last week, Sega's Crazy Taxi, which arrived on PS3 earlier.  I've gotten a look at it now, and I can report that the graphics and gameplay are faithful to the original, with higher rendering resolution but the same maps, models and textures, and the game controls fine with the 360 pad.  Unfortunately, licensing considerations mean that the recognizable brand trademarks are gone from this genericized re-release; even worse, The Offspring have been replaced with generic rockers trying unsuccessfully to ape the original soundtrack's anarchic energy.

Game Room -- Game Pack 012 arrives, bearing a number of interesting new titles.  Konami leads the way with two classic-era coin-op arcade games -- Blades of Steel will be familiar to many from its 8-bit NES conversion, and Trick Trap: 1771 is a tongue-in-cheek sword-and-sorcery tale with Commando/Ikari Warriors-style gameplay.  Activision antes up Pitfall II: Lost Caverns for the Atari 2600, complete with Yamaha music chip emulation, and Vectron arrives for the Intellivision -- maybe now I can actually learn how to play it, my original copy's manual was missing several pages back in the day.

PS3 on PSN -- A plethora of Playstation playables plop plentifully into our plaps (sorry) with SEVEN NEW GAMES.  Auditorium HD is a music puzzle game, an indie game competition winner.  Beat Sketcher is a neat draw-the-music creativity tool/game for the Playstation Move controller.  Dragon's Lair allows Digital Leisure to re-release this golden laserdisc oldie on yet another platform.  Hudson Soft's Dream Chronicles is a casual hidden-object "adventure" that hit the 360 a few weeks back.  Magic: The Gathering - Duels of The Planeswalkers offers more online card game/RPG fun.  Namco Bandai's Pac-Man Championship Edition DX just plain rocks.  And Tozai Games' long-awaited Spelunker HD updates Irem's classically difficult NES title for the PS3.

PSOne on PSN -- Another quiet week here.  Don't tell me I just started covering this platform in time for it to cease updating...

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