VC Weekly 316

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

A pair of ape-based games featuring... a pair of apes, a devil and a gargoyle all in one edition. Anyway enough from me and on with the games!
Available for download this week we have...     

Devil World
Gargoyle's Quest II: The Demon Darkness
Donkey Kong Land III
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixe Kong's Double Trouble


Price: GB £3.49, EU €4.99
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Released: 1987
System: NES
A seldom remembered classic of its time which got seemingly overshadowed by the greater releases from the big N around about the same time; created by the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto, Devil World is an action game of sorts where you control a dragon named Tamagon who must defeat evil by collecting Boa Boa dots and breathing fire in their general direction all inside a strangely familiar maze structure.

It's undeniable that it somewhat resembles the original Pac-Man at least in maze and dot consuming respects but it's not as simple as that, scattered around the mazes are crosses which you must push around to collect the dots and all the while you are doing this the devil is dancing at the top of the screen making life difficult for you.

He can summon many minions which will kill you with one touch but while in possession of a cross you can spit fireballs which will engulf your foes, the only catch is the crosses will only last for a few seconds though they infinitely respawn but so do the enemies. But wait there is more, as while the Devil dances the mazes moves to his advantage; so when he moves left or right the maze will do so also accordingly which adds to the challenge of the title.


When you've collected all pellets you may proceed to the next round in which there are four Books which do not respawn but have the same fireball bestowing properties of crosses, this time though you must slot them into a cube in the centre of the screen thus defeating the Devil and moving onto the bonus round. In this round you must collect books for bonus points and can move across arrows which correspond and counteract the Devils moves, the game then moves on and you are back to the concept of the first level but harder; the more you play the harder the levels get as invincible Mini-Devils and more enemies are introduced.

Overall it's a quality title with decent graphics for it's time and a classic soundtrack, it might not be in the same league as some of Shigsy's other masterpieces but it's every bit as enjoyable and has a lot more depth than the game it appears to have borrowed from. So if you're looking for something thats both original and entertaining from Nintendo's back catalogue of long lost classics then you will certainly find it here; oh and just to clarify, yes the Devil assist trophy in SSBB did originate from this very game.

Verdict : Dancing with the Devil has never been so much fun.


Price: GB £4.39, EU €4.99
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Released: 1993
System: NES

Undoubtedly everyone remembers the Capcom classic Ghosts 'n Goblins but when it comes to Gargoyle's Quest the chances are you'll be met with a few blank stares despite it being a decent spin-off on the GameBoy in which you play the role of Firebrand who is one of the Red Arremers - an enemy who you fight off in the GnG series - though this time he's a good guy, though this may be a numbered title it's actually a prequel to the other game in which we see Firebrand as a young demon in training who has been given the task of vanquising an evil dark light which threatens his home. This merely serves as an excuse for an RPG-flavoured platforming adventure which will have you exploring the realm, increasing your capabilities so that you can fly higher, jump further and weild powerful magic as you battle against bosses in order to extinguish evil for eternity.

Starting out you have a quaint overworld map which you can traverse which features many towns plus other demons to talk with, then if you enter a significant area the action will then shift to a side-scrolling perspective where you can enjoy some classic platforming, you get to use your powers here which includes flight in addition to fireballs which are two staple abilities that every Red Arremer should have. Flying is a simple case of jumping in the air then pressing the button again which allows you to hover but only moving left or right at that height until your flight meter is drained after which point normal gravity will resume so that once you touch down on the ground your metre will refill; while you might not move with the same kind of grace as portrayed in Ghosts 'n Goblins it's still a solid ability, your fireballs are much more simple as you just shoot them, they travel very far hopefully hitting their target.

Once you get to grips with the beautifully simple controls you'll be able to make decent progress rather quickly so you'll soon be collecting upgrades for your health bar, jumping capability plus the different magical projectiles which are infinitely useful being you you can alternate between them easily enough at the touch of a button. Thankfully the rather frustrating element from the first game which would frequently thrust you into a random enemy encounter every few steps as you tirelessly tried to travel across the map have now been abolished meaning that actually getting to where you want to be is now a much friendlier process which reduces the annoyance level, of course the restore points are useful for this title even if it's not nearly the same difficulty as the other titles in the series it should still be considered as a light challenge.


Largely thanks to the NES hardware all of the visual elements have had a significant bump from the monochrome modesty of the GameBoy original which charming as it is could never hope to attain the same level of detail that is on display here, even if this isn't the best game from the system graphically it still looks lovely as it is managing to retain some of that classic Capcom charm which many will appreciate. There is a nicely composed soundtrack which sounds perfectly reasonable for what it is offering a nice gothic feel which naturally suits the on-screen action even if it's not exactly top-tier stuff, all of the sound effects are solid enough at least which is a plus.

In many ways it's easier to recommend Gargoyle's Quest II as an easy entry point into the series thanks to is being easy on the eye, simple to get to grips with while remaining enjoyable at all times but then again no matter how good it is I can never shake the feeling that it's never really quite hitting those high marks like it should be, by all means it is still a very good game judged on its own merits though, it's a very good NES title. If you can hold out for a while longer though that might be the better option because the inifnitely better Demon's Crest will surely be surfacing on the Wii U VC very soon so if you can hold fire(ball) for a while then you're sure to be rewarded with a far superior SNES title rather than just a reasonable NES game; by all means give it a go if you're curious though as it's still money well spent and will certainly further secure the future release of the 16-bit sequel which is almost good enough reason in itself.   
Verdict : A solid spin-off sequel that's surprisingly enjoyable.


Price: GB £3.59, EU €3.99
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Rare
Released: 1997
System: Game Boy
So once more we have a portable Donkey Kong Land title riding on the wave of success spawned by the third Donkey Kong Country game which had already blown gamers minds and wallets mere months before, yet there is still a lot to be said for this interation in the series as it still stands out as being one of the best portable Donkey Kong titles you can buy. The story here goes that a band of fortune seekers have flooded Donkey Kong Country in an attempt to search for the fabled Lost World; the Kong Klan are having none of that though so taking on the role of Dixie along with Kiddie Kong you must use all of your platforming prowess to find the Lost World before they do.

It might have a slightly different back-story to Donkey Kong Country 3 - from what I recall - but the gameplay is very similar indeed, you have stages which seem to have been almost painstakingly ported over from its home-console brethren or at least some of the less complicated areas due to technical limitations of course. What is most impressive though are the controls which are a lot better than the absolutely shambolic showing from the original Donkey Kong Land as things really do seem to have come on with a greap leap of progress; this is handy because you really need to feel in control no matter which Kong you're playing as so that you can take advantage of their individual propeties without worrying that you're going to fall victim to moving too far forward into danger with just a simple press, indeed you have Dixie's hair-spin which allows her to cross large gaps with ease plus Kiddy who can just steam-roll through larger enemies always making for an interesting dynamic.


The whole adventure is of decent size as well because overall you have a total of forty-two stages all with hidden areas which usually contain lots of collectable items of which there are plenty in addition to the staple of bananas, you will have plenty of chances to earn extra lives too so you'll soon see those hearts stacking up along the bottom of the screen. Animal helpers are on-hand - or perhaps trunk - too as you get Ellie the Elephant who is my personaly favourite along with Enguarde the Swordfish, Squawks the Parrot and Squitter the Spider all of whom have their uses; in order to save the game you need to go a few stages before you reach Wrinkly Kong's Save Cave but fortunately this isn't too much of a bother thanks to the Virtual Console save state feature.

Another step up in the visual department it seems that even more monochromatic detail has been employed here along with more top-notch animations which are always priceless, especially the idle animation where Kiddy Kong repeatedly raises his eyebrows towards the camera. You should know the score with regards to the music, it's nineties Donkey Kong so you know that it's going to be brilliant even if the tunes have been scaled down, they are still impressive plus the aound effects still have charm too.


Easily the best of the portable trilogy Donkey Kong Land III really shows just how good a portable playformer can be even if it does borrow a great deal from the SNES games to which it owes its existence. Still one of the best GameBoy games that you can buy, plus the price is a lot cheaper than trying to source the original yellow cartridge; once again though if you ever find a way to include Super Game Boy borders for all these great games Nintendo it would be appreciated.

Verdict : Portable perfection for the Kong Klan.


Price: GB £5.49, EU €7.99
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Rare
Released: 1996
System: SNES

Adventures abound on Kong Island as we rejoin the Kong Klan for their third outrageous outing; this time around both Donkey and Diddy Kong have been kidnapped by an evil Kremlin by the name of Kaos and so it's up to Dixie and Kiddy Kong to rescue them. And so begins another glorious game full of exceptionally well designed levels which utilise the duo's unique and combined abilities to their fullest.

Indeed it's mostly a case of being more of the same for this installment but with the first two being such smash-hit successes this is certainly not bad thing. Almost everything from the marvelous map screens, vivid and varied levels which play as beautifully as they look and sound to the famous trademark humor and clever dialog is all here in it's present and correct form.


The big main addition this time around is a much larger map which acts more like an overworld as there are no set paths as such and you are free to roam this map as you see fit by doing this you will eventually get to the smaller integrated area maps which allow you to access the games levels. Smaller maps are just as they were in previous games but having the overworld map really gives a grander sense of scale this time around, sets the scene nicely and provides a central hub for the many secrets that can be discovered.

Other than that it's the same brilliant tried, tested and well loved formula that powered the originals working away silently in the background; you can complete each stage with either controllable character but in order to find everything you will need to utilise both apes abilities and their animal associates. Returning ridable animals include fan favorites Enguarde the Swordfish, Squitter the Spider and Squawks the Parrot with newcomers Ellie the Elephant and Parry the Parallel bird who prove themselves to be equally exceptional extras.


Essentially this is a shining example of one of the finest SNES platformers ever made and it's equally as deserving of it's high level of praise just as much as the two previous outings are. Whether it's the best of the trilogy however is entirely down to which one you like; personally I prefer the original but each has pushed the envelope that little bit further and for that reason DKC 3 is equally as good as it's primate prequels.  

Verdict : A commendable climax for the Kong Klan.

(Image Credit to forum member gmac - NNID 'gmac1982' - for Devil World)

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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