Video Game Appreciation 101: Wii Library Update (New Additions)

A few new (and used) titles for the collection, mostly thanks to some trades and a few others snapped up at really cheap prices. of course, I haven’t even finished all of these (my time machine is still busted), but have played enough of each to offer buy or bust recommendations. Then again, something I don’t like might be something you may fall over backwards over – that’s one of the more interesting things about gaming for you, right?

Centipede: Infestation
is an interesting take on the Atari classic from WayForward Technologies (Aliens: Infestation – no relation other than you get to eradicate all sorts of bugs) that mixes in shooting and Tower Defense elements with cartoon cut scenes for mixed results. Like Space Raiders a few years ago (a GameCube game that turned the classic Taito arcade game into a level-based shooter), mussing with the original will seem like sacrilege to some and yes, the game isn’t always successful with what it’s trying to accomplish. That said, it’s quite a bit of fun in solo or co-op play, and there are some cool power-ups, awards and unlockables to keep you replaying stages over and over.

The Conduit: Special Edition
– I picked this up as part of a trade just for the extra content: an art book and two custom items made available by entering a code. I was a fan of High Voltage Software’s attempt at bringing a high-quality FPS to the Wii that wasn’t a watered down conversion from an HD console or PC and while the game has its flaws, it’s an admirable chunk of hard work that’s worth playing if you’re a fan of the genre. I’ll need to grab the sequel one of these days, but I can’t seem to track it down for a decent price. No big deal, as I’m a patient man…

I reviewed Data East Arcade Classics a few weeks back and yes, it comes highly recommended if you’re a fan of the arcade scene. This disc is pure replay value, as most of the games are fun, easy to hop into and can be completed in a relatively short time. It’s too bad this seems to not have sold so well, as there are plenty of other Data East classics that aren’t here well worth playing in their original formats. Of course, if you’re packing MAME in your PC, console or other device or arcade cabinet, you have all those titles already, right? This disc is for those of us that aren’t that lucky.

Deadly Creatures is a game I’ve always wanted to own ever since I played a friend’s copy a few years back. It’s a really unique action game where you play as a tarantula and scorpion and features an unusual framing device that features Billy Bob Thornton and the late Dennis Hopper as two not so nice guys on the hunt for buried treasure in the desert setting the game takes place in. This bit of inspired casting makes for some amusing and dramatic moments as the plot drops the pair of would-be prospectors into indirect (and later, direct) conflict with the playable pest protagonists, but you’ll be concentrating more on the mostly fun gameplay. Some camera issues slap the fun factor down a bit, but overall, this is one of those games that works quite well as a Wii exclusive.

Elebits, on the other hand, annoyed me for a few reasons. Yes, it’s cute as hell and often very funny, but the timed nature of the game plus some vague goals in some areas (more precisely, it’s tough to figure out how to do some things even with the lengthy tutorials the game puts you through) sapped the fun factor out for me. I’ll go back to this one again at some point, as there’s a great deal of content to unlock as you play. But this one is an acquired taste at best (and thankfully, dirt cheap when you find it).

I had MadWorld before, but sold it off a few years back. Platinum Games’ hilariously violent beat ‘em up is one of a few Wii exclusives made for “mature” audiences that seems to have a legion of underage fans who approve of the gore content (and love it that they probably got this game because mom or dad didn’t read the back of the package, thinking every Wii game was good for kids). That said, while it is a load of gory fun and yes, is packed with laughs (and a ton of cursing), the camera is pretty damn terrible. Still, this one’s a decent buy at around five bucks new and there’s a bit of replay value here if you don’t mind the violence and language going out of their way to grind your eyes and ears. Then again, I’m betting Activision’s upcoming Deadpool (developed by High Moon Studios) will borrow a few elements from this one.

opoona is a really quirky open-world adventure RPG that takes a lot of time to get rolling and has a unique one handed control system that takes a bit of getting used to. Once you spend some time with it, the game becomes pretty charming but still has some camera problems in smaller indoor spaces. You play as an alien stranded on another planet after your family’s ship crashes. The scope of the game is immense and there are friends to make, jobs to take and plenty of combat in between all that. I’ll need to put a lot more hours into this before I decide if I actually like the story, but so far, there are a few plot and dialog elements that are interestingly mature for such a cute-looking game.

Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition is the best console version of the Capcom classic, thanks to the intuitive control setup and all the content from the GameCube and PS2 versions packed onto the disc. If you’ve never played RE4 before (hey, it’s entirely possible!) and own a Wii, this is the version to get. Given that it can be found for about ten bucks or less new, this is a no-brainer purchase.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories takes the original PS1 game and manages to make it better by reworking the story, characters and gameplay to such an extent that it’s an entirely new game. By focusing on solid use of the Wii Remote as a flashlight, cellphone, camera and even GPS system, a compelling story and even gameplay that changes based on how you answered the rather personal questionnaire that starts off the experience, Climax Studios has made a modern horror classic resonate even more. Even more interesting is there’s no actual combat in the game – running from monsters is your best bet, but the randomly generated alternate world maps will keep you on your toes. Excellent visuals, sound design, music and voice acting make this a must-buy. I haven’t played either the PS2 or PSP versions yet, but for me, the Wii version will be the best thanks to the great controls.

As a big Lara Croft fan (the games, NOT the movies!), I found Tomb Raider Anniversary on the Wii interesting in both good and bad ways. While the Wii version controls pretty fluidly and looks great, there’s a big learning curve with the jumping mechanics that can sometimes send poor Ms. Croft sailing to her doom when you were trying to pull off another move entirely. That said, most of the other Wii-exclusive features (such as the assorted puzzles that need to be solved using the controller) are fun and add to the overall experience.

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