Category Archives: Systems

Articles about the best, worst, most interesting, most overlooked and most underappreciated games for specific systems: titles that collectors will want in their library!

Switch Essentials: Cave Story+

Cave Story has been around for a good few years now, and indeed is still available for free download from the Web.

You may have already played it. You may have already beaten it. Perhaps you even set an amazing time in that bastard hard “secret” level on the way to the best ending. So why would you spend money on another copy for Nintendo’s latest console?

Well, firstly because Cave Story is a lovely game by a talented developer, and is worth supporting at every opportunity. Secondly because the Switch version feels like the most delightfully complete edition of this game there has been to date. And thirdly because this game just belongs on a Nintendo console.

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Switch Essentials: Namco Museum

Interestingly, for a shiny modern piece of technology, one of the most appealing things about Nintendo’s Switch is the amount of retro gaming funtimes that can be had on the platform.

While at the time of writing the system is yet to launch a Virtual Console service similar to that found on its two predecessors the Wii and the Wii U, some of the disappointment over this is mitigated by the fact that the Switch eShop plays host to a wide variety of excellent arcade ports, including a number of wonderfully enjoyable (and monstrously difficult) Neo Geo games as well as the bundle package we’re concerned with here today.

Namco Museum is a compilation of 10 classic arcade titles from Namco that roughly correspond to the 8- and 16-bit eras of home video gaming, plus a new version of 2003’s Pac-Man Vs., which originally appeared on the Gamecube as a game that made use of the Game Boy Advance link cable for dual-screen asymmetrical multiplayer. There’s something here for everyone to enjoy!

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SNES Essentials: Yoshi’s Island

Super Mario World marked the point at which “Mario games” were no longer really one series, though this didn’t become obvious until much later in retrospect.

Still, the fact that its sequel was called Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island rather than Super Mario Bros. 5: Yoshi’s Island should have tipped you off a bit… and if that didn’t work, then the fact that you didn’t actually play Super Mario would definitely do the job.

The “rebranding” that Yoshi’s Island ultimately underwent was a good idea though, because although having elements in common with its predecessor, it’s a distinct type of experience in its own right. And one of the best platformers on the SNES.

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SNES Essentials: Super Mario World

One of the biggest sources of playground arguments in my youth was whether Super Mario World or Sonic the Hedgehog was “better”.

I owned a SNES, so I should have been firmly in the Team Mario camp, but at the same time my brother was working on games magazines and regularly brought consoles home with him for us to try out — including a Mega Drive with Sonic the Hedgehog. And as such I learned to appreciate both on their own merits.

While less outright “impressive” in terms of spectacle than Sega’s classic — a fact that Team Sonic liked to rely on in aforementioned arguments — Super Mario World was certainly a game that kept me coming back for more. And for my money it remains one of the best Mario games — perhaps one of the best platformers — of all time.

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SNES Essentials: Star Fox 2

Nintendo’s new miniature SNES Classic system is here, and it’s a historically significant release for one big reason: Star Fox 2.

Fully developed but never released due to its completion near the end of the SNES’ lifespan (and the subsequent birth of the Nintendo 64), Star Fox 2 has existed in limbo for a long time now. A few times over the years, ROMs claiming to be the full game have shown up, but they’ve generally been early alpha or beta builds, not offering quite the full experience that Nintendo originally intended for the game.

Now, in 2017, we can finally play Star Fox 2 in its original form as it was always intended to be played. Was it worth the wait?

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PS2 Essentials: Ace Combat: Distant Thunder

Better known by its other name Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, the fourth installment of Namco’s series of fighter jet games was released under a different name in Europe.

Ace Combat: Distant Thunder, as we shall refer to it from hereon because I am European so deal with it, is a game that, despite its age — and the fact it was the series’ first outing on PlayStation 2 — remains eminently worth playing today.

It’s also a relic of a different time, when flight simulators in general were a much more common sight on both computers and consoles than they are today… which in some ways makes it all the more noteworthy from a modern perspective.

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Taito Essentials: Elevator Action Returns

Elevator Action is an established classic of the ’80s arcade scene, and saw a wide variety of ports to most of the popular computer and console systems of the period.

While the original game is still relatively well-known today, many people remain unaware that Taito followed it up with an official sequel in 1994, some eleven years after the original game’s release.

These people are, of course, also unaware that Elevator Action Returns is an absolutely awesome game, even from a modern perspective.

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