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Wii Virtual Console News and Releases for 12/29/2008

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As 2008 comes to an end and Nintendo counts up all the money they made off their hardware and software this holiday season, they have one last hurrah left in store for us via this week’s releases on the Wii Shop Channel. Like most weeks, it’s a combination of two WiiWare titles and one Virtual Console classic, but unlike some past weeks, the line-up this time around is particularly strong.

Looking back, there are a lot of games that didn’t make it to the Virtual Console that we would have liked, especially titles like Earthbound/Mother 2 that fans are practically begging for, but hopefully, 2009 will be the year those games get released. There was also the launch of WiiWare, which has had some great titles like World of Goo, LostWinds, Mega Man 9, Dr. Mario Online Rx and Alien Crush Returns. I expect a lot more of the same in 2009, but before we look too far ahead, let’s get to the last games of 2008, shall we?

This week’s new titles are:

WiiWare

Maboshi’s Arcade (Nintendo, 1-3 players, Rated E for Everyone, 800 Wii Points): Featuring three distinct modes and simultaneous play across three game windows, the constantly changing environment of Maboshi’s Arcade creates an atmosphere unlike any other. Each of the modes is based on one of three familiar shapes (circle, stick and square) and offers the same goal: score a million points. Use the intuitive controls to bash enemies in Circle mode, weave your way through Stick mode or burn a path around obstacles in Square mode—all while dealing with power-up items and keeping watch on which effects the other game windows may have on your own. Also featuring Mii characters, action replays that you can send to your Wii Friends via WiiConnect24, and the ability to download a version to a Nintendo DS, you may never want to leave this arcade.

Cue Sports – Pool Revolution (Hudson Entertainment, 1-4 players, Rated E for Everyone, 500 Wii Points): Grab your Wii Remote controller and take a shot at this virtual billiard game. Enjoy match-ups, playing classic favorites such as 9 Ball, 8 Ball, Rotation and Snooker, as well as walk-through trick shots in Puzzle mode. Connect to Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection (Nintendo WFC) to go head-to-head with your friends, or even hustle opponents across the world in Nintendo WFC match-ups. This game offers two types of controls, allowing you to virtually strike the cue ball with your Wii Remote controller or use the buttons to adjust the strength of your shot and then strike. Hone your skills in Practice mode, learning all the cool techniques you need to be a true hustler. Use the edit feature to create your own challenge and nail the trick shot you’ve always dreamed of sinking. Pull off an amazing shot and show everyone who’s the biggest shark in the pool.

Would you look at that? Finally, Maboshi’s Arcade makes it to North America after being unveiled shortly after the WiiWare service was first announced. The game is certainly an interesting take on the puzzle genre, featuring three simultaneous and different games going on at the same that all interact with each other. This is one of those games that really could be a killer app or it could be a total failure, but given Nintendo’s track record, especially on WiiWare, I’m confident in feeling that this won’t be any worse than average. Plus, there’s also the bonus downloadable DS version that makes use of the DS/Wii connectivity in a good way.

Cue Sports – Pool Revolution is priced at only 500 Wii Points, but it could be a good game if executed correctly. There’s a variety of different modes to choose from and online play is included. The big sticking point, sadly, is controls, and without a demo service on WiiWare, I have no way of telling you if the controls work or are broken. Like Nintendo, Hudson has done well enough that I’m inclined to believe this will be a decent game at its price.

Virtual Console

Zoda’s Revenge: StarTropics II (NES, 1 player, Rated E for Everyone—Mild Cartoon Violence, 500 Wii Points): Take on the role of Mike Jones, intrepid hero of the StarTropics universe, and once again battle the evil alien Zoda to control the fate of the Argonian people. In this journey, the island hopping of Mike’s original adventure gives way to traveling through time and visiting locations around the world. And you never know what famous historical figures may appear along the way, giving Mike helpful advice or useful items. Luckily, Mike also has a wider range of weapons and improved play control on his side, so he may yet stand a chance against Zoda. Can you help Mike stand the test of time and save the world again?

After a few weeks of questionable VC releases, this week brings us Zoda’s Revenge: StarTropics II, which is unquestionably good. I didn’t quite like it as much as the first one personally, but it is a solid title and a great addition to any retro gamer or adventure genre fan’s library. Not to mention the sequel fixes some of the complaints about the first StarTropics game. Also, as a side note, this game was only released in North America way back in 1994, meaning Japanese and European gamers have never gotten the chance to play localized versions.

Zoda’s Revenge: StarTropics II debuts on the North American Virtual Console, partially for reasons mentioned above. It, along with Maboshi’s Arcade and Cue Sports – Pool Revolution, is currently available for download off the Wii Shop Channel.

Check back next week for the latest round of releases for the Wii’s digital download service. Until then, happy gaming and a happy New Year to everyone!

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About Brian Szabelski