A look back at the 2006 release, Sonic Riders. A very polarizing things, we look at what the game excelled at, while noting how some of the flaws may have led the game to be overlooked.
Five Long Shots for the Wii U Virtual Console
Now that the Wii U Virtual Console is slowly picking up steam, despite some confusing absences (where exactly are the Nintendo 64 games?), I wanted to focus on the service’s most recent addition – games from the Game Boy Advance.
If you’ve read my other articles, you’re probably aware that I never actually owned a Game Boy Advance. That being said, I relied on other methods to get my fill of what turned out to be a wonderful library of games.
Before the Nintendo cops take me away, can I just say how glad I am to be able to play Game Boy Advance titles on my Wii U Game Pad? And while Nintendo has yet to release these games in large numbers, the amount of available games will continue to grow, much to our benefit as gamers.
I’ve selected five games I would love to see make it to the Virtual Console, but these picks may be more hopeful than realistic. These are games I always found interesting, but will likely never reach the Wii U Virtual Console. Still, a man can dream.
1) Drill Dozer
Back in the day, we used to think all Game Freak knew how to do was develop Pokemon games. However, they’re more than capable of going outside of their comfort zone, and Drill Dozer is an excellent example of this.
Released in North America in 2006, Drill Dozer is based around moving the hero, Jill, through a variety of levels using the titular Drill Dozer. By using the shoulder buttons to control the spin direction of the drill, and you’ll be figuring out all of the drill’s uses if you want to proceed through the game’s seventeen stages.
Drill Dozer is a wonderful example of a simple control scheme that is put to excellent use by the great level design, as the game is just incredibly fun to play and pushes you to think about the way you’re using the drill. Add that to great sprite work, good music, and a witty localization, and Drill Dozer is one of the best games in the entire Game Boy Advance library. The Virtual Console would love a game like this.
2) Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
Of the three Castlevania titles that came out on the Game Boy Advance, I remember Aria of Sorrow the most. It sticks to most of the conventions introduced by Symphony of the Night (the game style commonly referred to as Metroidvania), so you’ll be exploring Dracula’s Castle in a fairly non-linear fashion and levelling up as you go.
What’s different about Aria of Sorrow is its main character. Soma Cruz isn’t your typical Castlevania hero – he won’t be swinging whips or accessing the typical subweapons of the Belmont clan. Rather, Soma absorbs the souls of enemies upon their defeat (souls range from common drops to exceedingly rare) and use their abilities to attack, assist him, or alter his stats or abilities.
Naturally, this leads to a ton of different ways of playing Aria of Sorrow, and for the most part, you’re free to equip souls as you see fit. You may have to use specific souls at the right time, but the game is never too controlling. And when you consider Aria of Sorrow has a much more unique plot than usual Castlevania games, it isn’t hard to see why this is a great game.
3) Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis
This might be the least known game on this list. It’s an early release, coming out in North America in 2002. As part of the excellent but somewhat obscure Tactics Ogre series, The Knight of Lodis carries on the strategy RPG style of the series.
Unlike the similar Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, The Knight of Lodis is a serious game with a plot concerning betrayal, war, and religion. Your main hero, Alphonse, will find himself questioning his station in the world and the things happening around him.
In battle, the game shines. With many classes for human characters, and a wide array of other units such as the undead or dragons, you have a great number of options for battle. This is one of the key requirements of a good strategy RPG – you should be able to play how you like, employing unique strategies based on the way you organize and develop your party.
The Knight of Lodis has this in spades, and I feel like it’s the best strategy RPG on the Game Boy Advance, beating out the name value of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance.
4) Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town
Surprisingly, this may be the Game Boy Advance game I’ve spent the most time playing, now that I sit down and think about it.
Harvest Moon games are a tricky sort – there’s a lot to like about them, but if you’re not in the mood to put in some work, you’ll find yourself frustrated by the games. I like to sit down with Friends of Mineral Town with a plan already in place – what am I going to plant, how do I want to go about my upgrades… There’s a lot to think about.
Friends of Mineral Town has a lot of charm and great characters, along with various ways to manage a profit and keep the game going. It’s a surprisingly deceptive game – it doesn’t seem deep or interesting at points, yet you’ll find yourself playing another day, and another day, and another day. At the typical price of Wii U Virtual Console releases, this game would be an incredible deal. Trust me, you’ll play the hell out of this.
5) Mother 3
I’ve saved the biggest long shot for last. And yeah, I’ve excepted that it’s probably never going to happen. Even with Nintendo taking the time to joke about it in their E3 Nintendo Direct, it wasn’t the kind of message that convinced anyone they cared about the Mother fanbase.
Still, wouldn’t this game be ideal for the Wii U Virtual Console? Even though it would be over eight years late, Mother 3 is a game that deserves an English release, and on the Virtual Console, you don’t have to worry about a marketing campaign or anything like that. All you need to do, Nintendo, is accept the fan translation patch, make sure everything works for you, and put the game on the Virtual Console.
I think you’d be pleasantly surprised at the results, Nintendo. This is a game that a lot of people want, and they will spend the money to get their hands on a legitimate English copy of it. The ball is in your court, and please, go easy on the eye lasers.