While playing through the Unchartedseries and trying to finally reach level 60 in Diablo III, I still do some retro gaming on the side, mostly on my PSP. In 2011, I had started a legendary RPG series in Dragon Quest, and I played the first three in succession before a year-long break. But the fourth game just had to be played, I had to at least finish the NES entries, though I do not know when, if ever, I’ll go on with the SNES ones. The first game is indeed quite important to the industry as a whole, but just not a very good game – I thought the second and especially the third one were nice improvements. So I expected the fourth one to be at least on the level of its really fun predecessor. And, at the end, I’ve got to say there were certainly some things it did better, but I also sorely missed others.
Game: Dragon Quest IV Developer: ChunSoft Platform: NES Original release: 1990 Territories: Japan, North America (as Dragon Warrior IV)
Dragon Quest IV is the first in the series that tries harder to establish a few memorable characters, and even the villain is rather interesting. The main story, as a whole, is still rather generic, but at least the various characters and the villain’s roles in it put it a step above the first three games. It’s an achievement for the series. Gameplay-wise, the game is split into chapters (the recent DS remake even carries the subtitle “Chapters of the Chosen”). Once you reach the main part of the game, you are forced to rely on AI-controlled allies more than you normally feel comfortable. But fortunately, they are adequate most of the time.
NES is not my first game system, that was an Atari 2600 Jr., but I’ve got really fond memories of the NES, as it was a vital part of my early years as a gamer, especially in middle school. And let’s face it – there were just so many great games on it. Some people, usually having started in the 16-bit era or later, just love to reduce the NES’s significance, as far as games are concerned, to “Mario 1 and 3, the original Zelda and Mega Man”… But, having much more experience with the system than them, I know they are wrong. And this list is already good enough proof. Don’t expect to find any famous games here. These are the Top 10 hidden NES gems.
Recently, pretty big rumours have surfaced regarding Nintendo’s upcoming Wii U console from a Ubisoft developer in Italy. Surely, we’ll get a lot of actually factual information in just a couple of weeks at E3, but why not speculate today, too?
Here’s a list of the important stuff:
Launch date – November 23rd
Launch price – between $350 and $450
Radeon HD 6770 GPU
DirectX 11 support
Can run Unreal Engine 4
2GB RAM, 560 MB reserved for OS
Support for 2 touch-screen controllers
Trigger buttons won’t be analogue
“New button” has a link to the Wii Vitality Sensor
Multiple versions of the console given to developers – perhaps hardware is not completely finalised yet
There will be achievements
UI will be customisable
Launch titles from Ubisoft: Rayman Legends, The Avengers, Assassin’s Creed 3, Just Dance 4; Killer Freaks from Outer Space to arrive weeks after launch
Assassin’s Creed 3 to run at 60 fps at 1080p, compared to 720p on PS3/Xbox 360
Crytek, EA and Valve are working on Wii U
Valve working on a digital distribution platform and Portal ports
Most of this is very interesting. I highly doubt Nintendo will go for anything above $350 for the price. With the word out already that Wii U will not be THAT much of an improvement over the other two, a $400 price tag would be a certain recipe for a slow start, unless they manage to convince everyone that Wii U is truly full-fledged next-gen at E3.
In line with my most recent review, the second video game music of the week is from an 8-bit classic. It’s the title screen theme from the excellent team fighting game Nekketsu Kakutou Densetsu, one of the amazing Nekketsu/Kunio games from Technos – my favourite series on the NES and still among my favourites even today. 8-bit music can be very impressive with how much composers have achieved with the extremely limited sound chip capacity available.
Composer: Kazuo Sawa Game: Nekketsu Kakutou Densetsu Song: Title Screen
Plenty of games shape our life as gamers, and we all have our favourites – some mainstream, some more niche. But there are some games that every self-respecting gamer should know about. You don’t have to like them. You don’t have to even think they’re good. But, as a gamer, you should know about them.