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It may come as a surprise that the Wario Land series, which gained popularity on the Game Boy, actually began on the Virtual Boy (not counting Super Mario Land 3, if you want to get overly specific). It’s a standard run-right platformer, but the added 3D effects let you dip into different layers of each level. Combine that with the usual cache of Wario power-ups (in this case, hats that give you unique abilities) and you’ve got a damn fine game trapped on a system doomed to die.
Above: Another great example of how difficult it is to convey 3D gameplay with 1995 televisions
The only real downside to Wario Land was the fact it was on Virtual Boy – it was a legitimately long adventure, so unlike the arcade-style Mario Clash it demanded longer play sessions than most mortals could endure. If it were brought back on 3DS, in color and with some extra content, we’d happily buy it all over again. And hell, most of the world doesn’t even know it exists, so Nintendo could practically sell the exact same game again.
Right. So. There’s no good reason why this needs to come back, other than I love space and galaxies and all that crap, and the long, deep nature of a pinball machine makes for a cool use of 3D. Someone’s going to barf out a 3D pinball game before the end of the year, so it might as well be Nintendo – they’ve already got the guts of one together, now just flesh it out!
Above: My that looks exciting
How about a series of pinball tables based on the NINE planets in the solar system? Though that implies we leave this system and go into the galaxy proper. Clearly there are serious decisions to be made about the direction of this extremely important revival.
Above: Can we keep the kickass music from Kenji “Super Metroid” Yamamoto?
Another possible option is mixing this idea with a new Metroid pinball game – the DS Prime Pinball was quite good, and adding Samus in with this aesthetic is a perfect fit. Even though the original Galactic Pinball was forgettable and barely worth discussing (this entry may be the most anyone’s talked about it in a decade), there’s a kernel of a good idea in there. Go for it, Nintendo!
Yet another Virtual Boy oddity – this is actually the first Megami Tensei game released in the US, which stars publisher Atlus’ mascot Jack Frost. Two other Jacks (Lantern and Skelton) round out the trio, and all team up to slog through level after level of unending bad guys.
Above: It doesn’t look very fun, but it is
Gameplay is fairly basic, as you’re mostly just running through these hallways with enemies in continuous pursuit. The 3D kicks in when you look out into the black void – you’ll see the next level below you, seemingly deep in the distance. It’s a cool effect, though not really crucial to the experience.
Above: Ten minutes of gameplay! Halloween hijinks ensue!
Just as was the case with Wario Land, this is a remarkably competent and fun (if a tad sparse) game that never had a chance at life; even if it weren’t one of the rarest games on the platform, simply sitting down to play it for more than a few minutes was borderline painful. Color this properly, put it on 3DS and give this otherwise decent game a fair shot.
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