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This week we’re seeing a decent number of downloads for both the Wii Virtual Console and Xbox Live Arcade. Yesterday, gamers got the original PUNCH OUT! (sans Mike Tyson) from the NES (500 Wii Points), VIRTUA FIGHTER 2 (the 16 bit Genesis version, not the 32 bit Saturn one, 800 Wii Points), and BONK’S REVENGE, the TurboGrafx16 sequel to BONK’S ADVENTURE (600 Wii Points). While PUNCH OUT! is the obvious best of the three, VIRTUA FIGHTER 2 has it’s crazy 16 bit charm. BONK’S REVENGE doesn’t really hold up as well as I remember (but then again, neighter did BONK’S ADVENTURE) but it’s nice to see that there has been a consistant outpour of titles on Nintendo’s newest system.

Xbox, however, hasn’t had as much consistancy which is why this week comes as such a surprise. Not only are we getting the classic Konami shooter GYRUSS for 400 Microsoft points tomorrow, but we’re getting a brand new title as well. 3D ULTRA MINIGOLF ADVENTURES may have the longest generic title EVER, but actually offers a good many courses, all for 800 Microsoft points. Two XBLA games in one day is certainly an achievement for the service, whose Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays have been about as regular as…well, as my columns.

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Speaking of arcade games, Konami just released 15 classic games on the DS under the simple title KONAMI CLASSIC SERIES: ARCADE HITS. Included on the cartridge are familiar classics as GRADIUS, SCRAMBLE, TIME PILOT, TRACK & FIELD, RUSH ‘N ATTACK, and my favorite CONTRA, as well as more obscure title as POOYAN, CIRCUS CHARLIE, HORROR MAZE, ROC ‘N ROPE, and more.The great thing about the cartridge is that they present the games as full arcade emulations, even supporting the original aspect ratio of some of the games (such as CONTRA’s longer screen)…but playing with the DS flipped on it’s side to enjoy these games takes some getting used to. Still, the full arcade versions of 15 titles is excellent, with some of the best emulation I’ve seen for a handheld in quite some time.

For the purists and completists, there’s even a full gallery of Japanese and American cabinet artwork, as well as music selections from each of the 15 games. To top it all off, each game features wireless download play for multiplayer gamesharing, as well as for folks who each have the game to compete wirelessly with each other, to see who can get the top scores.

Since most arcades are now a thing of the past, it’s nice to see that we can get some of the old classics to enjoy in the privacy of our own homes… or on the go.

Cause, frankly… I’ll never be able to afford one of those old cabinets. Damnit.

ONE GAMER’S OPINION:
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THE GAME ON! RATING SYSTEM

 

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Ratings From Greatest to Least:

Kick Ass, Right On, Okay, Eh, and Stinker (aka CRAPTACULAR)

 

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