Retro: VC Weekly #200

Welcome to VC Weekly, N-Europe’s guide to the wonderful world of Nintendo’s download service. Written by Sam C Gittins.

So two hundred editions of VC Weekly is undeniably another milestone and while this feature might not even exist had it not been for its founder Jordan Khoviteri-Zadeh who was the original VC reviewer up until number seven, I'm certainly glad that it has continued to this day; the graphics may have a revamped look thanks to Justin Marimon our Head of Media but the content remains the same and naturally I'll be continuing to diligently review every title that gets released on both Virtual Consoles so thank you for reading, I hope you'll continue to enjoy the many more retro reviews to come. Anyway enough from me and on with the games!

Available for download this week we have...

  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers

Price: GB £4.50, EU €5
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Released: 1987
System: NES

This is where it all began for what is now one of the biggest videogame series ever created, from humble beginnings The Legend of Zelda follows the hero Link as he sets off on a quest to save princess Zelda and the land of Hyrule from the evil Ganon. You will need your sword, shield and wits of steel to retrieve the eight fragments of the Triforce and banish the evil king; if thou hast the courage then prepare for one of the greatest adventures of all time.

For anyone new to the series or that has played later entries before now this first game may seem a little unforgiving, especially noting the absence of clues showing you where to go but that's actually part of the whole charm that this title exudes. You start off with nothing but after entering that cave, being greeted by an old man and hearing those immortal words 'It's dangerous to go alone, take this!' you'll have the sword... this is where your adventure truly begins because where you go after that is up to you; there are many paths to take even though there is a recommended order in which to do things, some dungeons you won't be able to beat without certain items but there lies the simple charms that Zelda is now famous for.

Exploration is key as it's that which you'll be doing a lot of as you progress through the many scrolling screens on offer, many of which contain secrets or puzzles to solve; more than likely you will find yourself getting stuck... not knowing what to do but then suddenly something clicks, you try something, which works, then you hear that magical jingle which signifies your progress and it's the many moments like this scattered throughout the adventure which you feel like playing on for as there isn't another feeling quite like it. These precious things are what elevates Zelda beyond being just another game to something of wonder, an exciting experience like no other... indeed this feeling is carried on in every incarnation since but nothing touches the sense of accomplishment of triumphing in the original instalment.

While it may not match the visually vibrant scenes of grandeur created in recent entries within the series, there is a certain magic contained within the pixels of this 8-bit classic and it's something sacred which only those who have experienced the game will understand; certain feelings are conveyed within the ever-changing scenery of Hyrule which speaks volumes coming from something so modest. Hearing that wonderful over-world theme is a very special moment which nothing else can touch, those simple repeated tones which play through much of your adventure will be forever dedicated to memory as you find yourself humming it forever-more... all of the other pieces such as the dungeon and boss themes are exceptional also but it's the main theme which will truly claim a piece of your heart.

An absolute classic whichever way you look at it, many now staple elements such as dungeons, swordplay and even heart containers were established here not to mention now favourite items such as the boomerang but much more than this is the fact that this relatively unassuming title gave rise to a series that is nothing short of legendary. Zelda will surely continue to grow and prosper just as it always has but it's this first monumental title that we have to thank for bestowing such a legacy; challenging for its time and perhaps all the more punishing by today’s standards... this is one title that I would strongly urge any gamer to try at least once because it truly is an unforgettable experience and one that has stood the test of time as one of the best games of its era.

Verdict : A legendary title that lives up to its namesake and lineage.

Points: 800
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Released: 1994
System: MegaDrive

Yes it's another incarnation of the legendary Street Fighter II but it's perhaps the most welcome edition of the game to hit the Virtual Console since the hugely popular Turbo variant. And while this version loses some of the aforementioned versions speed that many players have no doubt become accustomed to it manages to more than make up for it due to the huge wealth of substantial and sustainable additions that it brings to the table.

So what has this version got that Turbo hasn't? Well firstly we have a total of four new contenders to the throne comprising of; Cammy, Fei Long, DeeJay and T. Hawk and while they are all welcome additions the latter three seem to pale into relative insignificance when compared to the now legendary Cammy who is arguably the best of the bunch. Familiar fighters now have modified move-sets such as the addition of Ryu's flaming-flying-fireball and Ken's flaming-dragon-punch; some of the identical moves between these two characters now deal out different amounts of damage which equates to an actual accumulative difference to the two firm fan favourite fighters which is more noticeable in this version than in the predecessors.

Perhaps the most exciting element is the additional online mode which obviously the original MegaDrive version didn't have but for some reason we're getting one now which is good news indeed for Wii owners as it means that they can experience an online version of this classic assuming that they haven't already played the online-enabled versions that are available on other current generation consoles. But it has to be said that they've done a decent job as this caters for online VS battles which is all you really need in a game like this as it's all about the spirit of battle and enjoying partaking in either beating your opponent or suffering a humiliating defeat, it's all here to enjoy in this version with minimal lag but most importantly for free.

Visuals are vastly the same overall with only a few new backgrounds and some updated character animations and although it may not show all the extra detail that can be seen in the original arcade version it's still as visually vivid as ever and uses the MegaDrive hardware well as does the extra voice samples for each of the characters which were newly added to this version plus some that aren't even in the SNES variant though the overall quality seems to have taken a slight hit due to so much being crammed into the 40 Meg cartridge which was a big deal at the time as it also allowed for more 'complete' conversion.

Essentially it's a case of more of the same here which is no bad thing considering the cosmetic and structural improvements that have been added not to mention a host of multiplayer modes most notably including an exceptional elimination tournament. The only let down of this version is that it's slower than the previously released Turbo counterpart; this was later rectified by the release of Super Street Fighter II Turbo which was never converted to any 16-bit console at the time so for the time being if you can live with the reduction in speed then this version is truly as good as it gets and now that it has added online multiplayer there really isn't any reason not to have played this classic title.

Verdict : Another superb Street Fighter II successor.

That's it for another installment of VC Weekly which will return again soon. So until then, enjoy the rest of the week and Game On!

Sam Gittins
[email protected]

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