Top 10 Lists : The Top 10 Games That Deserve An Upgrade On The Virtual Console
Before we begin, I do want to clear up any confusion that may exist with the title. This is not meant to be a top 10 wishlist for virtual console releases, so if you're curious as to the omission of a particular title that starts with 'E' and ends with 'arthbound', now you know. What I do want to point out with this list is that while the bulk of virtual console games have been straight ports that are emulated by the Wii hardware, every so often developers put in a little extra effort to update their game code to include a special something that enhances the experience. When Pokemon Snap was released, it included the option to send photos taken to your Photo Channel and SD card for trading. When the VC Arcade release of Space Harrier came out, it provided the option for motion-based flight controls. While the initial game itself is of course the main draw, these content upgrades can offer some fresh experiences to be had, as well as integrate the game as it was then with the newfound technologies of today. The Wii remote offers a wide variety of input mechanisms, from it's IR pointer, to it's built in accelerometer, and gaming advances in general have rendered some of the common practices of yesteryear obsolete. So, if you'll permit me, I'd like to use a bit of 'rational speculation' to open up the floodgates, and list 10 games that could really benefit from these types of updates, if they should ever find their way to Nintendo's download service.
Starting off the list is a little known classic hybrid combining a top-down action adventure with a vertically scrolling shoot-em-up, filled with upgradeable weaponry, key-based level progression, and just a dash of puzzle-solving. It's a solid game that is every good today as it was back then except for one little detail; it required a password system upwards of 32 characters long to save your progress! Now, the password system at play does have a variety of interesting uses (check out the password FAQ for details), but the average player these days just wants to save and restart without bothering to write anything down. I see no qualms about keeping in the existing password system to explore different aspects of the game code, but I'd like the game a whole lot better if I could walk into a save room and save the game progress to the Wii hardware. Call it a 'green' initiative to save more notepaper, and a relief for those of us whose I's look like L's.
The SNES Ogre Battle has already made it's way to the Virtual Console, so it may only be a matter of time till we see this one. If you haven't played either, the Ogre Battle series is a form of real-time strategy RPG that relies heavily on troop deployment and advancement across a map area, with individual units that battle out for glory, conquest, and all that good stuff. On the N64, all this was managed via thumbstick on the controller, but wouldn't it be better to use the Wii's IR pointer to select your troops and pinpoint the areas where they should march to? This would likely speed up the battle strategies as you'd no longer need to wait to move the cursor from one end of the field to the other, and would be ideal for multitasking in several areas of the map at once. The "New Play Control" versions of Pikmin showed us how managing large numbers of allies can be used in an effective way and it would be neat to see that replicated here.
Perhaps you've heard of this game from Nintendo Power. This was a classic action platformer with a unique gravity-defying twist. You played as a mech fighter who would walk through these metallic corridors with the ability to toggle between walking on the floor, and on the ceiling, all the while dodging enemy fire and environmental hazards. While the game is difficult in it's own right, as it required some serious twitch gameplay, one frustration was that in order to toggle between the floor and ceiling, you needed to press up or down twice, depending on where you were. This seems easy enough at first, but when the levels start getting more frantic it ends up getting hard to keep track of which input (up or down) is needed to flip the gravity. One possible solution available now would be that instead of mapping the move to a button input, have toggling between the floor and ceiling accomplished by a quick shake of the Wiimote using the accelerometer. This way, hands are free to concentrate on moving, jumping and shooting while manipulating gravity with ease.
#7: Battletech (GEN)
Everyone knows that one of the coolest things about mechs is their ability to shoot in one direction, and be walking in another. This can be difficult however, with a controller that has only one directional input, as was the case with Battletech on the Sega Genesis; an isometric action game where you piloted a Mad Cat Mech with weapons of your choosing. Although the developers found ways to allow some clever movement/aiming capabilities, the game likely would have been a whole lot easier if the player could be both moving and aiming at will. While far removed from armored mech combat, this 2D action has been done before on the Wii, with games like "Heavenly Guardian" (a fairly decent budget title that I'd honestly recommend to anyone; I picked it up for about $5). Using the control stick on the nunchuk to move, and the IR pointer to aim, your aiming would become more precise while you'd still be able to concentrate on defensive maneuvers with the mech legs. It's Win Win!
Take suggestions for both The Guardian Legend and for Battletech mentioned above, and you have an excellent game in Blaster Master, the legendary story of a boy who followed his giant mutated pet frog down a hole to discover and pilot a fully operational futuristic tank...wait, what? Anyhow, if any NES game should benefit from a save feature, it's this one! It's an extremely complex game that's part zelda, part contra, and part metroidvania. The developers were asking a lot from their audience if they intended people to reach the game ending all in one sitting with only three lives. To top it all off, aiming became painstakingly difficult when walking in the top down portions, since your gun was held out to shoot from your side, rather than from your center (rendering some simple enemies invincible in the process, since your shots couldn't reach them). For all those times players died like punks, it should be only fair that an upgrade to IR aiming during these portions offers them a chance at some payback! If such a control scheme were in place, consider this a day 1 release download from yours truly...if not, well...maybe day 2. This game hurts...but it's a good hurt.
The Super Star Wars series has already come to the VC, so we know LucasArts has expressed an interest in the download service, but why limit all your force and blaster action to 2D! The Wii library is surprisingly short when it comes to flying games, even though the potential for motion based flying exists (and coupled with Motion+, it's better than ever!). We're still waiting for the Big N to deliver a top notch Star Fox experience on the Wii (more on that series later), so why not re-release this blast from the past, complete with motion flight controls to fill the void in the meantime? That empire won't defeat itself, you know.
If you don't know the game, picture Space Harrier, but instead of flying, you can just jump really high... and it's a lot happier. This game had a neat little gimmick with an option to play in 3-D, with the help viewing through 3D glasses. While that was neat and all, the real focus was running towards a neverending horizon as you dodged left and right avoiding enemies and jumping over chasms. A fun option to include with this game if it ever sees a release may perhaps be to utilize tilt controls to move the player left and right. This input method has already been used in Wii games such as Sonic and the Secret Rings, where the character constantly moves forward on a linear path tasked with dodging obstacles. Plus, there are several games out that still use 3-D glasses, so some homes will already have that option available and will have another reason to use them!
Thanks to the Wii, point and click adventure games are in again. Great games have come out, such as Zack and Wiki, Strongbad's Cool Game for Attractive People, and the rehashed Monkey Island episodes are all available to utilize the pointer controls to their fullest. So why not extend that same tech to the VC? The NES had a fun version of the LucasArts Maniac Mansion that would be made all the better with point and click gameplay instead of the dated directional pad. A fun runner up would be the SNES clock tower game, but Maniac Mansion edges out for it's humor and charm.
It's no surprise that there's no shortage of light gun games on the wii, with its built in IR controller that can fire shots with pinpoint accuracy. So why hasn't the VC stepped up to offer up some of the quality light gun games of the past. In a surprising move, one NES light gun game (Operacion Wolf) was released, only to have it's light gun capabilities removed, tasking the player to aim via directional pad. Ouch! To move the light gun craze from the standard releases onto the VC, why not start with something that the Wii does best...Minigames! Few people will remember that Sega had it's own zapper; it was called the Menacer - and it came with a pack in game that offered a fun variety of shooting games. There was even a game that featured the coolest, funkiest duo in the galaxy Toejam and Earl where you flung tomatos at passing enemies. A fun and simple game like this would be well worth the price of a standard genesis download, and would complete the TJ&E experience to be had with the Genesis.
While this may be the coolest game to integrate with current Wii technology, it's also the least likely to a) happen, and b) get released in any format. Why? Because it was never released to begin with! Star Fox 2 was canceled due to the impending release of the N64 (which if you're up on your history, you'll recall that the N64 delayed anyway, so there wasn't much need for the cancellation). It's a real shame that this game never saw the light of day, as it offered a variety of gameplay mildly similar to Star Fox Command on the DS. First, there were the regular flying missions, which could easily be made better with the use of motion controls for flying. In addition, several sections called for your ship to transform into a humanoid robot, that could, in theory utilize tilt controls to help steer. Finally, the game contained a galaxy map screen that called for strategic movement (journeying to planets, intercepting missiles and enemy attacks) to which pointer controls would help to navigate where you'd like to send your ship. Clearly the game was ahead of it's time! Series fans will also recognize this game as having the true first appearance of team Star Wolf.
For the list, I wanted to limit to systems that already have solid representation on the VC, as well as having links to other games and gameplay mechanics currently available for the system. Needless to say, although these upgrades would be neat, they shouldn't be dealbreakers for a download if they aren't included. I'd happily snatch up any of these if they release in their original format. Sadly, some of these games carry potential legal issues with them that could easily stop them from seeing the light of day again, but stranger things have happened. Cross your fingers, and thanks for reading! Oh yeah, and Earthbound...make it happen Nintendo!
List by BlueGunstarHero (12/07/2009)
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