There’s a new batch of Genesis games up on the Wii Virtual Console, and this latest batch features a few titles that are more than worth your points. Interestingly enough, Sega has been quite lenient with the release of import games on the VC, something I really wish we would have seen in other areas, especially compilations. The Mega Drive version of Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair is probably the first time many gamers will get to play it, despite Sega releasing an entire set devoted to Wonder Boy on the Playstation 2 in Japan in 2007.
Mixed emotions are the rule of the day whenever ClayFighter comes into the conversation. The visuals and concept are innovative and extremely well done, but the gameplay is questionable. Call it slow, call it sluggish, call it “keeping in step with the graphics” – I don’t care; it still makes ClayFighter something of a chore to play, and that’s a fatal flaw for a fighting game, in my opinion.
Pass or Purchase? The characters are cute and the whole idea is really cool, but the execution suffers. that makes ClayFighter a game that might leave some gamers with a bad case of buyer’s remorse. Try before you buy, but better yet, pass this one over for one of the better Genesis fighters on the VC.
Galaxy Force II
Galaxy Force II is one title that you’d do best to avoid. The game has been toned down immensely for the Genesis, and formally eye-opening effects have been replaced by slowdown and sprite flicker. There’s nothing even remotely remarkable about this version, and I can’t recommend it at all.
Pass or Purchase? This is one of the few instances where I can honestly recommend emulating a game in MAME over playing the Genesis version. Of course, you could always track down the Japanese Saturn version of Galaxy Force II, but there isn’t really any reason to unless you simply have to play this game in its best form. Lacking its amazing arcade cabinet, Sega’s space shooter loses a lot of its luster, and the Genesis port is just horrible.
Sega took Capcom’s amazing run-‘n-gun and reprogrammed it for the Genesis, and gamers got what’s probably the seminal version. The arcade mode of MERCS is quite faithful, despite the small graphics, but it’s the awesome original mode that really makes this port shine. Being able to switch between all the mercs and upgrade their armament is a blast, and all the fast paced action of the original has been retained.
Pass or Purchase? If you’re looking for a game that lets you blow stuff up without pondering too much about the reasons why, then MERCS is the game for you. The great arcade port looks and plays like a dream, and the original mode is worth the price of admission alone. Get yourself some points and grab this download.
Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure
Really? This game again? I suppose Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure was deserving of a release in some form, as the Wii would be perhaps the only post ’95 console in existence without one otherwise. It seems that Activision is wholly content to continue to push the same game over and over, rather than reboot the franchise entirely. Wait, this was a reboot – fifteen years ago.
Pass or Purchase? While a competent platformer, there are others in the genre on this very list more worthy of a purchase that PtMA. Unless you’re one of three people in the industrialized world who hasn’t played this one, or you simply have a savage case of nostalgia, ignore it and move on.
Oh Pulseman. Every time you come up in conversation, all those involved sigh lamentably at how you were passed up for domestic release. Thankfully, that’s all come to an end now, and it only took more than a decade! The incredible skills of pre-Pokemon Game Freak are on full display here, and there is nothing but platforming goodness to be found here.
Pass or Purchase? Please, this shouldn’t even be an issue. In fact, why the hell are you still even reading this when you should be downloading Pulseman to your Wii? Go ahead and get busy. We’ll wait…
Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
I have to admit that I’m a bit biased when it comes to Monster Lair, as my first exposure to the game came in the form of the superb TurboGrafx-16 CD release way back in the day. The Genesis version sadly lacks the incredible soundtrack due to its cartridge format, and the visuals aren’t quite as colorful either. That wouldn’t be a problem if this were the only version available, but that’s not the case, so…
Pass or Purchase? Since the superior TG-16 CD version is available on the VC (at a hundred points less, to boot), there’s no real reason to get the Genesis one. I suppose those who have never seen it before (it never came to the U.S.) might let curiosity get the better of them, but that’s bound to be followed by some buyer’s remorse. Mind you, I’m not saying the Genesis release is a bad one. I’m simply pointing out that there’s a better on for purchase on the same service, which makes the choice pretty simple.
If you’re wondering whether or not some of these titles are worth buying, then you need to go back and play some more Genesis! Little of what’s offered this time around merits both your time and your money, but some will still want to check out games like Wonder Boy 3. Pitfall! can be had on literally a zillion consoles, perhaps even cheaper than on the VC, but the additions of MERCS and Pulseman leave at least two bright stars this time around. Hey, they can’t all be triple A titles every time!