VC Weekly 350

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

Fans of popular Capcom fighting games and Mario RPG's will surely have something to celebrate with these releases; also it's VC Weekly #350 which I suppose is some kind of milestone... nah, let's save the celebrations until #400 hopefully. Anyway enough from me and on with the games!
Available for download this week we have...     

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
Final Fight One
Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival

Price: GB £8.99, EU €9.99
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Released: 2006
System: DS
While the likes of Super Mario RPG along with the early Paper Mario titles have always managed to capture my attention, I'll be the first to admit that the Mario & Luigi series never truly resonated with me even though I fully recognise them for being decent titles judged on their own merits; they always seem to fall a little flat to me despite being decent in places so it should come as no surprise that Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time falls into the same category. Our uninspiring story takes the duo through the Past and Present versions of the Mushroom Kingdom in an attempt to stop the alien race called "Shroobs" from taking over the place, you have to rescue Princess Peach of course who went missing during various time-travel events but it's really just an excuse for Mario & Luigi to team up with their younger selves because why not?

As you traverse the overworld as a team you'll be able to throw the babies up to high places to activate switches as you solve various simple puzzles which often revolve around clearing a pathway for the standard size Mario Bros. so you can progress, you'll also become separated at certain points of the adventure as you can battle with just two characters. The fun really begins when you have both pairs of brothers battling it out though, this means you'll have many more button combinations to take into account than in other games within the series so for this alone it has to be commended for trying something a little different which will keep you constantly engaged in the game but not so much to the point that you'll find it difficult to see what's going on between the two screens.

Of course the other main selling point of the series has always been within the entertaining dialogue contained within the adventure, it's here where laughs are delivered in spades and even the most cold-hearted of gamers will find it impossible to at the very least not even crack a smile, the time-travel element also helps in this department as well even if this element isn't really exploited to its fullest potential. Being that this was originally a portable title it is a good fit for the gamepad but I still feel that for all DS games taking advantage of the dual screen setup where you have some of the action on the TV with the other half on the pad being the best option, this is definitely the kind of title which works well on the Wii U VC as well being that it's a slow-paced but nicely pieced together adventure.


All of the visuals might seem lacking in comparison to more recent entries but it certainly has more of an instantly gratifying appeal by going for a level of presenation which is simple with just the right amount of charm, of course the world still has a great deal of character and the animations are still brilliant as ever. The soundtrack is all rather jovial as you might expect which goes along well with the generally cheerful atmosphere, bar one or two decidedly bleak moments which I won't spoil but have been remarked upon as being in rather stark contrast to the main tone of the game, brilliant sound effects are used in abundance though which is always a good thing.

It might not be the strongest entry in the Mario & Luigi series but Partners in Time is still a very enjoyable example within its own sub-genre of the quirky, off-beat RPG based on the tropes of an existing gaming universe. For anyone who hasn't yet experience the joy or the hilarity of these great titles I would definitely give this a solid recommendation as it's a game which is easy to get into and provides the player with an immense level of enjoyment throughout; personally I'll always prefer the more grounded approach of the Paper Mario series which is why I'm both excited while being apprehensive around the upcoming Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam but there isn't any reason why you shouldn't enjoy both.  

Verdict : Another excellent entry in an RPG series which deserves double the amount of appreciation.


Price: GB £6.29, EU €6.99
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Released: 2001
System: GBA

The original Final Fight is one of those games which I absolutely adored back in the day as I'm lucky enough to still own the superior Sega Mega-CD version, even when I had nothing else to compare it to I just knew from playing that it was very much the definitive version, so when I heard that years later the game was being ported to the GBA I thought that it would be an amazing technical achievement if nothing else yet I never ended up purchasing it until now. For the price it actually isn't bad at all as you still get the usual standard story where you have to rescue Jessica - daughter of Metro City's mayor Mike Haggar - from the Mad Gear gang, all of the classic locales are still here more or less as you remwmber them aside from them being scaled down but now scaled up once more to fit the big screen again where the series began thanks to its arcade roots; it's amusing when things come full-circle.

Now of course this version is not going to please the purists but then arguably it was never designed to, if I want to play the best version I'll still go back to my faithful Mega-CD copy but for the sake of merely getting to experience a classic game for minimal outlay this is still a viable option even if it has some annoying ommisions such as the unforgivable pixel-murdering of both Roxy and Poison who were two iconic female characters who have been brutally butchered by being turned into male punks Sid and Billy who are rubbish in comparison. If you've never played this game though you probably wouldn't have even noticed, the controls at the very least are still very solid indeed featuring the classic control scheme which an attack button plus a jump button which both allow you to pull off a spectacular array of moves especially when you combine them with some aerial acrobatics, your health is recovered by scavenging items of food from the floor plus you have the obligatory weapons to pick up including the drain pipe along with the katana sword which work well in any side-scrolling scrapper.

Playing through all of the now iconic city-scape in stages is still pleasing just as it always was, you have your choice of three characters as always including the aforementioned Haggar who is the big heavyweight character, Guy has more of a mertial-arts background while Cody has more of a rough brawling style with each of them offering a completely different experience warranting multiple play-throughs; in addition you also get to play as the "Alpha" versions of Guy and Cody as well, which is nice. That's not the only thing which has made it through from the Street Fighter Alpha series either as the overal interface along with the energy bars look decidedly comparable to Capcom's other fighting series which is no bad thing I suppose; gone is the two-player co-op though which is a huge blow for those hoping to pair-up against the scum of the streets but if you're a solo only player I guess this won't matter.


Visually most of the original iconic art style is still present but it is zoomed-in, cropped to within an inch of its existence and just not the full picture basically but if you can deal with that then it's still decent despite the blur of the big screen instead of being pixel-perfect like the original. Unfortunately not even the soundtrack has made it across unscathed which is a shame because Capcom decided to go for a different chip-tune arrangement, which would have been fine if it had been done correctly but sadly it just comes across as being a shallow approximation of its former self, the sound effects still seem to be there so that's a plus.

I can't advise picking this up over the original if you already own it as there are far too many alterations, but if you're a fan of the series wanting to experience a different take on it then by all means do as there are enough extras such as additional cut-scenes to keep you interested. If you're looking for two-player action though you won't find that here so you might be best either waiting for a better version - Arcade version Capcom? Pretty please... - or just buy Final Fight 3 which is also available and is better in some ways than this port; alternatively for those who also own a 3DS get onto buying 3D Steeets of Rage II because if you haven't played that then what are you doing even thinking about playing an inferior port of Final Fight over the one of the best versions of a classic? Priorities please people!

Verdict : It's Final Fight but not as I remember it or want to, it might be playable for some though.  


Price: GB £6.29, EU €6.99
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Capcom
Released: 2001
System: GBA

 How many different versions of Street Fighter II have been released on the Virtual Console since the creation of the service way back on the Wii? Lots probably, so many now that even I can't muster enough enthusiasm to count them up any more, but wait! This is the GBA release named Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival! We haven't had this one yet so... it must be good right? Partially, because as you will no doubt be well aware by now is that every single Game Boy Advance game released on the Wii U Virtual Console so far is completely and utterly stripped of its original features limited to the original system which of course includes multiplayer, therefore yes this is Street Fighter II but without the option to play the two player versus mode which originally made the game such a classic.

But now that's out of the way let us look at what exactly is available in this version, you do have access to sixteen characters from the very start which means you get the eight original World Warriors, all four bosses in addition to the quartet of New Challengers as well; so all of the characters you'll remember if you played the SNES games originally are here, they have all been tweaked as well plus you get to unlock two versions of Akuma one of which lets you fire an extra fireball, what a game-changer! All of the controls are responsive enough but due to the GBA only having two action buttons along with two shoulder buttons you are still limited by this setup despite being able to remap the controls to the four face-buttons permitted by all main Wii U control options, inevitably you end up with at least two attacks being mapped to the same button as another with the option of having pressure sensitivity in those cases or pressing a combination of two buttons together, neither of which is ideal but if you experience difficulty with this then you can turn on "Easy Commands" by pressing Select at any point which can make things easier; all of the controls would be later refined in the GBA version of Street Fighter Alpha 3 but at least you have some options here.

Despite the lack of two-player you do get a fair amount of single-player action for your money in the Arcade mode alone which features four different speeds along with eight distinct difficulties which should be enough to challenge most Street Fighter players, it all runs reasonably well too with just a little bit of slowing down at points, Suvivial and Time Attack modes are also included which adds more value. Interestingly this VC version has apparently had a bug fixed in it, when you end up fighting Akuma instead of M.Bison as the final boss by meeting certain conditions, the game no longer crashes or causes data loss which the original release on the GBA in Europe seemed to do so that's a bonus at least.


Obviously the visuals were always going to look a little blurry when blown up on the big screen even with smoothing enabled, it doesn't look too bad though plus if you prefer greater perceived definition then you could always just play on the gamepad, the animations are still decent with some even being improved indluing the fire effects plus there are some nice new backgrounds in there alongside the old classic onces. Certainly the music won't sound quite as good as some of the Street Fighter ports we have had on disc-based systems over the years but it still seems pretty decent being that all your favourite tracks are still there, you can still make out the classic cries of "Hadouken!" or "Sonic-Boom!" for instance; Guile's theme still goes with everything, right?

Everything you remember about Street Fighter II is here sans two-player mode, it's still a reasonably impressive version featuring Super Combos plus the ability to finally fight Akuma properly, but ultimately you still might be better off going with the other versions which are available on the eShop. If you simply must own every version of the game ever released then of course you're going to buy it anyway, so long as you know precisely what you're buying then that's absolutely fine; at the very least you get Miiverse integration so you can share your experiences but while you're on there you might want to ask Capcom to release Street Fighter Alpha 3 already.   

Verdict : It may be Street Fighter II but it certainly isn't Super without two-players.   

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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