Let's get the whining out of the way right now, because in a few moments, Virtual Console-watchers shouldn't have much to cry about. There will only be two games added to the Wii Shop Channel this week. I know, this spits in the face of the traditional three we've been fed for nearly a year, but who cares? This week is "Import Week" for the Wii Shop Channel!
The first is the (at times) mind-bendingly difficult Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (NES, 1 player, 600 Wii Points), which was originally released in Japan as Super Mario Bros. 2. But you already know that, right? The next is Sin and Punishment (Nintendo 64,1-2 players, 1200 Wii Points), the Treasure shooter that has never made its way to North American shores, despite English voice-overs, and high import demand. But you know that already, too, right?
Is there anything you don't already know? Probably not. You're smart cookies, which is what I like about you. So what I want to know is this: Are these the most exciting Virtual Console titles to date, or is it going to take more than a few imports (perhaps some original software) to get you animals excited? You are animals, you know.
This is a special week on the Wii Shop Channel. Frankly, it's a gamer's dream come true: Nintendo is launching the new Import genre with the release of two games that previously have never been available in the Western Hemisphere on their original platforms. The first will be hugely popular with Mario™ fans, who will love reliving the style of his classic games as they encounter new skills, new levels and new dangers. Nintendo® 64 enthusiasts also get a masterpiece of the shooter genre and perhaps the best game never released outside of Japan. Welcome to Import Week for the Wii Shop Channel!
The two new classic games go live at 9 a.m. Pacific time. Nintendo adds new games to the Wii Shop Channel every Monday. Wii™ owners with a high-speed Internet connection can redeem Wii Points™ to download the games. Wii Points can be purchased in the Wii Shop Channel or at retail outlets. This week's new games are:
Super Mario Bros.™: The Lost Levels™ (NES®, 1 player, rated E for Everyone, 600 Wii Points): Originally released in Japan as Super Mario Bros.® 2, this game has previously made only brief cameo appearances in the Western Hemisphere. Now available on the Virtual Console™ in all of its original splendor, Mario fans will appreciate the familiar look and feel of the game, while finding that its updated game play creates an entirely new challenge. No longer content just to wear different-colored overalls, Mario and Luigi also possess different skill sets: Mario can stop quicker, while Luigi can jump higher. In addition to the classic enemies already known to fans worldwide, there are also Poison Mushrooms, backward Warp Zones, and the occasional wind gust (which can help or hinder your progress) to take into account. And if that's somehow not enough, expert players can go looking for the game's secret worlds. So get ready to put your Mario skills to the ultimate test, and save the Princess again. Just don't be surprised if she's in another castle.
Sin & Punishment™ (Nintendo 64, 1-2 players, rated T for Teen – Blood, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, 1,200 Wii Points): Created by the legendary development studio Treasure, this is a game that hard-core gamers and fans of Japanese imports recognize as one of the finest Nintendo 64 titles to have never previously reached North American shores. Its unique combination of English voice-overs with Japanese subtitles (preserved in this version) has only added to the enthusiasm for its eventual release here. Experience the frenetic pace of a classic shooter, while choosing from a variety of options and a number of different skill levels until you are ready to take on the full-blown challenge of Turbo Hard mode. Not to be outdone by the action, however, the intriguing story line gives the game its soul and draws you even further into the mix. Set in the near future, on an overpopulated Earth starved for resources, players uncover the intriguing mystery of two teenagers (Saki and Airan) and their battle against the Ruffians as they advance through level after level of nonstop action. Take a deep breath, gather your energy and prepare to see why this game is so highly praised.