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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Much Needed Re-Releases Part 1

Through compilations and the rise of digital gaming, replaying the games of yesteryear has become quite the easy task. Want to play Super Mario Bros but don't own an NES? That game has been ported to nearly every Nintendo platform under the sun. Ditto for the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Sadly, not all games have been so lucky. Welcome to Much Needed Re-Releases, where we'll discuss games that should get an extra shot at life.

Mega Man: The Wily Wars (GEN)

You could look at this anthology release as the Super Mario All-Stars for the Genesis. Mega Man 1-3 were brought to SEGA's 16-bit powerhouse sporting updated graphics and Genesis music, though some may argue that the flair from the NES originals was lost in this transition, there are some nice Genesis versions of the classic themes, while others don't sound so hot. The game also features a save system and upon completing all three games, you unlock Wily Tower, a lovely four stage bonus with original Robot Masters. What's more, you can select any eight Robot Master weapons and assist items from all three Mega Man titles before starting each stage. These stages also carry a unique musical theme that rank among Wily Wars best musical compositions. The collection certainly isn't perfect. It suffers from some bugs, glitches and somehow, even worse slowdown and the NES originals. The save feature gets wonky on emulated versions, often erasing saved data and the version that came in SEGA's 2012 At Games Ultimate Portable Game Player suffers from even worse emulation. With Capcom giving so much love to Mega Man re-releases over the years, it really wouldn't kill them to show some appreciation to the first Mega Man anthology, giving players a more ideal method of playing it.

OutRunners (ARC)

A significant step up from the the first OutRun, OutRunners features even more stages, multiple cars with different drivers for even more endings and ultra lively arrangements of the classic OutRun themes along with new tracks such as "Speed King"  and "Blow Your Cool." Being a 1993 arcade release, the game runs on much more powerful hardware. As impressive as SEGA's super scaler technology was, the SEGA Multi 32 board hardware makes OutRunners look and run super smooth. The sprites and scaling in OutRunners is nothing short of breathtaking. OutRunners was definitely worthy of the OutRun name and it's quite unfortunate that it never gained the popularity that the original game did. It received a single, shoddy Genesis port, making the arcade version the only way to go. With the excellent work M2 is doing on the classic SEGA games like Super Hang-On and OutRun on the 3DS, one can dream that the developer will get to take a stab at OutRunners so more players can experience this exceptional game.

Alien vs. Predator (ARC)

It isn't that all aliens are bad. Its just that, well, more often than not, they are up to no good and that is unsurprisingly the case with Alien vs. Predator. While there have been a plethora of games to use the Alien vs. Predator name, Capcom's 1994 beat 'em up has been the only one I've ever really cared about. Playing as either the marines or the Predators, you must stop the Earth from being overrun from those creepy things from the Alien flicks. Enemies come at you in droves and get quite relentless in their assault. Even with another player watching your back, it doesn't take much for both of you to get overwhelmed. Thankfully you've got a nice supply of special moves and weapons to dispose of the Aliens with. Punching down thugs in your standard beat 'em up is fun to be sure. But there's nothing quite like mowing down a slew of Aliens with different fire arms in Alien vs. Predator. The game still looks quite nice and has a soundtrack that does a good job of getting you pumped to thrash some Aliens. This game was never ported to anything and being a licensed property that Capcom no longer holds the rights to, it may never see the light of day again.

Space Megaforce (SNES)

Developed by the now defunct Compile, this game is actually known as Super Aleste in Japan, making it part of that long running series. With Zanac and MUSHA (also games made by Compile) being Virtual Console releases on the Wii, I had some hope that Space Megaforce would join those games, but no such luck. It's a real shame because for me, this is the pinnacle of the Aleste games. The levels themselves can be quite long, possibly a little too long for the standards of a shooter but it has a great weapon system used in earlier Compile games and each of them can be upgraded up to five times for some serious firepower. I always preferred the three shot lasers myself. As is the case with most shooters, you can expect lots of on screen mayhem and you might be expecting the to experience some slowdown from so much clutter. Nope. Compile had a knack for maintaining high frame rates on shooters even in their NES days and Space Megaforce is no exception. I would love for this baby to be given new life in digital format. Even a non complete copy of the game runs for over $100.

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