VC Weekly 291

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

If you like NES games then at least on half of the release list could potentially appeal, whereas the other half of it seems to be a waste of a eShop space. Anyway enough from me and on with the games!
Available for download this week we have...     

Clu Clu Land

Price: GB £3.49, EU €4.99
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Released: 1987
System: NES

Another substandard sports title gets re-released on the Virtual Console, this time in the form of Volleyball; admittedly Nintendo did have some success with Ice Hockey but this example falls short by a long way and joins Soccer and Baseball in competition for the worst example of a first party released sports title. It doesn't need to try that hard however because it quite simply is atrocious from the outset easily taking the crown from the aforementioned two and indeed the proverbial biscuit.

Visually it's void, audibly it's an abomination but this is half expected from something that was released a double decade and a half ago; whats not expected though is for the player to have almost complete lack of control over what's happening on-screen. Everything moves erratically and it never seems possible to make the ball or the players go where you want and this begs the question; What exactly is the point in a game if you don't interact with it?


The answer is that there is none and so there is no point in downloading the re-release of this game which remains as pointless today as it was twenty seven years ago. I truly cannot recommend this in any way, shape or form as it would be a blatant lie; the simple truth? In my opinion it's a really bad game that has no value and if something has no value then logic denotes that you shouldn't pay for it, save yourself some eShop credit and the hassle it takes to download as there are surely much better VC titles just around the corner, at least I hope so because at this point it feels as if Nintendo is scraping the bottom of the barrel away each week... I quite like NES games as a rule but there is simply no point in digging up the ones that were dead on arrival, parading their virtual corpses for all to cringe at.  

Verdict: Virtual volleyball that is simply vomit inducing.


Price: GB £3.59, EU €3.99
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo R&D1
Released: 1984
System: NES

This was definitely one of the more quirkier releases available for Nintendo's 8-bit machine, the plot goes a little something like this; evil sea urchins have stolen all the gold bars in the underwater world known only as Clu Clu Land and it's up to Bubbles, a (would you believe it?) bubble fish who has taken it upon himself to reclaim all the stolen gold and restore equilibrium to the ocean.

At first glance you would be forgiven for mistaking this title for a Pac-man clone and in some respects this may be true but only on a very loose level, the way you play is you must move by swinging around from peg to peg that make the maze on each level all in an attempt to collect the gold bars that are placed throughout the level, incidentally the 'gold bars' are actually the rupee sprite from Zelda merely re-used.

Upon swinging around the course you will fill in gaps between the pegs, these lines that appear have a purpose for they are the outline of a design, once you've collected all the pickups and 'drawn' the outline you can progress to the next level. It isn't all as simple as that though as of course you have such hazards as whirlpools to avoid as well as sea urchins, though you are not defenceless as you have a sonar blast at your disposal which you can stun your enemies with before slamming them into a wall.


Everything does get progressively harder though as there are more traps, a strict time limit and changes to the rules such as moving over a gold bar a second time will undo the work you already did, couple this with the awkward controls which may be original but become more bothersome as the game progresses, everything just gets too frantic in the end and the excitement of zipping through each level soon turns to frustration which is a shame for a game that shows such promise in its beginning.

Visually it looks how you'd expect a game of its era too and while it's not without its charm it does feel a little rushed, especially when you take into account the imported sprites, the sounds are nice enough but not as the audio featured in some of the classic NES titles. Overall it's not a terrible title and you may have some fun with it, but any enjoyment derived will be short lived upon reaching the later levels plus once you've played it once there is little to go back for so you'd be better off spending your hard-earned points on far more superior offerings that are already available.

Verdict: Underwhelming underwater-based arcade title.

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!

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