River City Ransom
Originally released as Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari (Downtown Hot-Blooded Story) in Japan and titled Street Gangs in Europe, River City Ransom is rightly regarded as one of the Nintendo console’s best games and one of the finest scrolling beat ‘em ups of the 8-bit era. The game was developed by Technos, who also produced possibly the most famous scrolling beat ‘em up of all-time in Double Dragon, and is the third game in the Kunio-kun series released for the console, preceded by Renegade and Super Dodge Ball. The most interesting aspect of River City Ransom is the way it integrates RPG like elements, especially in the way the story is laid out before you. These elements were also adapted heavily to match up better with western markets. The game is also almost open-world in its nature allowing you to explore it as you wish, an incredibly innovative element for the time. In conclusion River City Ransom is a game that any 3DS (or NES) owner really shouldn’t miss out on.
Mighty Bomb Jack
Strangely there isn’t a conversion of Tecmo’s original Bomb Jack available for the NES, but that’s ok because we can make do with this follow up. There’s no doubting that Mighty Bomb Jack is a great sequel to an already awesome game that adds more bombs, bigger explosions, scrolling levels, extra missions and bonuses to the equation. If you loved the original Bomb Jack chances are you are going to love this game too as it retains all the original gameplay elements that made Tecmo’s arcade game so brilliant. Although that said I have found that some people are put off by the levels now scrolling and preferred the single screen gameplay of the original. Personally I found it added a new dimension to the game and offered something different to its predecessor, it’s better to just treat this as a new game in many regards. Mighty Bomb Jack comes highly recommended to all 3DS owners (and original NES owners for that matter) who are after a bit of fast and frantic arcade action!
Some of you might not recognise the name but you will certainly know the game as Life Force is better known to many of us as Salamander, the sequel to the classic Gradius (which can also be picked up on 3DS too!). Where this game differs from its prequel is that it has both horizontal and vertically scrolling levels. Even with the odd change in perspective the game plays pretty much the same though as you try to negotiate the tight caverns in your ship. The power-up system works the same as the first game with a bar at the bottom showing the level up are at. As you grab the flashing icons your guns and bombs both increase in power. If you lose a life though you will have to start building it up all over again, so try not to! Life Force is generally a very good conversion of the Konami arcade game but does suffer from some quite problematic sprite flicker and might be too hard for the less experienced gamer out there. Still, shoot ‘em up fans will definitely be in their element here.