Resident Evil 4 – Wii on Wii U Edition

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*tch* This is Leon. I’ve arrived on the Wii U through the Virtual Console, some kind of digital download service. They took a sample of my blood and uploaded it. I’ve also been injected with a virus, it seems to have changed my reflexes. I can see a green cursor wherever I aim my gun. It seems to be beneficial so far, but I’ll keep you posted on any adverse affects. Leon out. *tch*

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Castlevania Advance Appreciation

The Game Boy Advance had an impressive lineup of games in its relatively short life. Released in 2001, then shoved out the door by the Nintendo DS in 2004, it was home to 2 brand new Metroids, 3 new F-Zero games and 3 Castlevanias among others. This little writeup will be about Castlevania as I’ve just played through all 3 of them on the Wii U Virtual Console. I had an amazing time exploring each game, and I’m absolutely blown away that these 3 games were made within 3 years. Circle of the Moon, Harmony of Dissonance and Aria of Sorrow are all interesting in their own ways.

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Super Castlevania IV – Hardcore Halloween

To be Frank, I completely lost track of Halloween this year and don’t care much for holidays or parties. It’s a bit of fun that can lead to great eShop sales, but I don’t need a reason to be spooky. It all seems a bit forced to me when people dress up and post selfies. Not my thing.

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Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon – Land of the Rising Marth

Shadow Dragon is a remake of the very first Fire Emblem game and I’ve just played through it on the Virtual Console. That’s right, from the NES, to the DS, to the Wii U, this game has had a journey of its own. Being the first time one of the earlier Fire Emblem games has been released in English, this game presents classic gameplay with the original story of Marth and the kingdom of Altea. It has quite a simplistic gameplay-first approach without many bells and whistles, but the gameplay is very good and I absolutely fell in love with the design of the game.

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Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones – Virtual Gold

Right after beating my first Fire Emblem game, I was so hyped and excited that I started Sacred Stones the very next day. With the two GBA Fire Emblem games sitting right next to each other on my Wii U menu, it just felt right and I was carrying enough energy from the first game to keep going. Despite a familiar game engine on the same system; a whole new cast, new maps, different enemy designs and a modified gameplay structure made Sacred Stones feel fresh and exciting immediately. I’ve just beaten this game after another 30 hour journey and I thought I’d write about the differences while both games are fresh in my mind. I won’t talk too much about gameplay specifics since that took up most of my Fire Emblem 7 writeup, but I will talk about what makes Sacred Stones a bit different and special.

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Fire Emblem (GBA) – Initiation

After 12 deaths, 30 hours, and enough regret to fill a vulnerary flask, I have just beaten my first Fire Emblem game. With the series being more popular than ever and a recent sale on the Virtual Console, I decided I would try and get into the series. I picked up the self-titled GBA game (known as Fire Emblem 7 in Japan) on the Wii U a month ago and fell in love with it. It clicked from the first few chapters and I enjoyed the emotional rollercoaster all the way to the end. I had initially dismissed this series as something I wouldn’t enjoy, a blunt tactics game driven by RPG grinding with a typical cliche anime story. To be quite honest, I didn’t understand it. As soon as I started playing this game, I felt a warmth of forgiveness. As it turns out the gameplay had a ton of depth and surprises waiting for me, and the wonderful story and characters made every aspect of the mechanics feel strong and important. After a full hearty playthrough of the game, let me tell you what Fire Emblem now means to me.

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Yoshi’s Story – Virtual Happiness

Once upon a time there was a game called Yoshi’s Story on N64. Kids around the world were delighted with what they saw. The Yoshis were pursuing happiness, and trying their best. To have as much fun as possible, on their brave quest. All the young gamers had a great time. Adults too, couldn’t help but smile.

All was going great until the climate changed. The big bad internet said it’s not a good game. Without enough sequels to Yoshi games, the children of Yoshi grew up in disdain. Gamers looked down from mountains of dew, with bags of doritos to hide the truth. This article is here to remind you cunts, that Yoshi’s Story is a lot of fun.

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Super Mario RPG – 20 Years Later

This game is an interesting and very important part of history. A landmark partnership between Square and Nintendo would see them go on to… well, do nothing, because Square fucked off to Sony after this game. You’re welcome. Nonetheless, it spurred an entire legacy of Mario RPG games, including the immediate follow-up Paper Mario, and 5 games in the Mario & Luigi series. When Square changed their ways, some of the Super Mario RPG staff actually left to form Alpha Dream, who are still creating Mario RPGs to this day. Even though Super Mario RPG was the very first Mario RPG, I had never played it until now because it never had an original SNES release in Europe and Australia.

Thanks to the Virtual Console, I picked this up on Wii U and had an absolutely wonderful experience discovering it for the first time in 2016. The art style did not look that impressive to me in screenshots, but it feels so much better when you get into the game. Once you start playing, everything comes to life like a beautiful story. The game is very well-designed and it struck such a chord that I got completely immersed and beat the game over the past week. So what’s so good about it? Let’s get into our first battle.

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Wave Race 64 – Return of the Champ

My name is Ryota Hayami. You might remember me as the two-time Wave Race world champion, but that was a long time ago. As a young kid I was insatiable and wanted to win every competition I could find. The sights were fresh, the scene was encouraging, and everything felt so new. Lately I’ve been kicking back and enjoying my new life as a fisherman. It’s a nice relaxed lifestyle, but I still think back to the glory days quite often. Sometimes I notice the waves ripple and it reminds me of when I was 18 years old, fighting for victories on my Jet Ski. The Jet Ski scene has changed a lot since then. Jet Skis of the modern era are quite complicated designs yet “easier” to ride, and for me that completely takes the thrill out of riding. Technology is so advanced now that the Jet Ski does everything for you, with auto-correction and elevation control becoming the standard. As a result, all the big dollar manufacturers were winning year after year, and there wasn’t much demand for good riders. Being a good rider now simply means showing up to as many PR events as possible. Not my life, man.

As fate may have it, I wasn’t the only person who longed for the glory days. On Friday morning I received a phone call from Kawasaki asking if I was fit for riding. They understood the struggle of true riders today and wanted to bring back the old feel. A tournament was to be held as a test to see how many people would support a change in Jet Ski design proposed for the 2017 season. They called it a “Virtual Console” championship and they have brought back all the old Jet Skis, while securing the rights to all the old locations. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Is this a dream? “No sir, we are serious about this. We have everything in place but the riders. We need you.

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Super Metroid – New for 3DS

In the recent Nintendo Direct, Nintendo announced SNES games for the N3DS would be available immediately with Super Mario World launching the service on the same day, and more to follow. In Australia, one of those early games was Super Metroid and I grabbed it ASAP with the dream of finally being able to play the US NTSC version of the game. That’s right, all SNES games on the EU / AU 3DS eShop are the 60hz American versions, making it the first time Super Metroid and Link to the Past have been available here in 60hz. Even though I’m pretty happy with the Wii U Virtual Console, for some reason we’re still stuck with the PAL versions of a few games. In my experience it’s not that big a deal for Zelda, but Super Metroid is a much more action-focused game, loaded with tons of precise tricks and wall jumps you can not afford to miss. So not only was I keen to experience SNES games on 3DS for the first time, but also discover Super Metroid in its original 60hz form.

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Phantom Hourglass HD Edition – Sailing the 192p Seas

WAHOOOO!! With a well-timed jump over an Octorok spike trap, Phantom Hourglass has landed on the Wii U Virtual Console in Europe and Australia. Unfortunately it has not made its way to America yet, but I’m sure the fog will lift soon. There’s a lot of baddies out on the ocean so you have to plot a course carefully. Let’s get to the point, a DS game on Wii U, what is this madness? Linebeck hid in the corner, he was scared of this new experience. How do two screens work on the TV? Is it functional? Could it be amazing? I’ve just completed the game and yes, it’s pretty fucken playable. I had an absolute blast with the ship’s cannon, ahahahaha. Linebeck told me that joke I swear. The game is pretty good too. This writeup is going to explain how DS games play on Wii U, and why Phantom Hourglass itself is special.

To the SHIP!!

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Metroid II: Return of Samus – Exploring the 8-bit Abyss

Welcome to SR388, home planet of the Metroids. My desire to learn more about these creatures has thrust me into the dark depths of Metroid II on the Game Boy. It’s an ancient screen the Chozo used to replay historic moments over and over. On SR388, Metroids thrive in a monochrome habitat and keep themselves hidden in a dot matrix maze of grayscale caves. They are aggressive creatures when threatened but enjoy their privacy. This game stars Samus in her most faithful role as a Bounty Hunter, with the goal of hunting down 39 Metroids to eradicate the entire species. Set after Metroid 1 / Zero Mission and Metroid Prime 3, the Galactic Federation just randomly held a conference and decided the only way to stop further chaos is to drive Metroids to extinction. It might be the only way, or perhaps this is a classic overreaction to a threat they don’t understand. A sensation that might be familiar to Metroid fans. Could it be a cover up, a conspiracy, a trap, or just plain stupidity? What is going on behind the scenes? A bunch of Federation Troopers mysteriously disappear while “investigating” the Metroids here. Samus is sent to terminate the Metroids because “she can handle it” based on previous experience. This must be how Next Level Games feel right now. Metroid II is a hostile environment, with convoluted passageways forming a structure that takes advantage of the Game Boy’s limitations to provide a great sense of scale. Isn’t that contradictory? I would say it’s ambitious and necessary. Metroid II shoves an entire planet under the Game Boy screen and lets the player deal with the repercussions.

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