Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sin and Punishment - Birth Model Ruffian on Long Island Subway on Normal

This is the first game I have downloaded on my Wii's virtual console. Not because I don't think there haven't been other games worth downloading. The fact that I own most of the SNES and Genesis games on the virtual console dissuades me from them, but there are plenty of good TurboGrafx-16 games. It's just that I can't seem to justify to myself buying virtual games when I have plenty of real ones. Sin and Punishment is different.

Sin and Punishment is a game that was never released on the North American Nintendo 64. It was only ever released in Japan. Those who imported or emulated the game claimed that we in the United States missed out. The game was made by Treasure - renowned for making great action games. It was amazing and it never came here until now. Clearly I want to support Nintendo releasing never-before-seen games on the virtual conole so I downloaded this the day it came out. I wasn't disappointed.

The game is truly awesome. It's a bit like Space Harrier or Cabal or Panzer Dragoon. It isn't quite a first person shooter nor a shmup. Basically, your character is at the bottom of the screen and can only move right or left. You use the analog stick to aim the crosshairs anywhere on the screen and shoot there. Additionally you can jump and roll to avoid projectiles. Sometimes you move forward automatically and sometimes you are standing in one place. The action is fast and frenetic and relies on your reflexes to get you through every situation. The game is Treasure at its best and it really is a shame that it never made it across the pond.

The story is all kinds of bizarre and messed up. It is sort of like if Akira was made by a low budget studio and then really poorly translated when it came to the US. Apparently in the future (2007!) there are these monster creatures that are loose in Japan and a militia was formed to fight them. But the militia has started oppressing the people and a resistance was created to stop them. This group is led by Achi, a woman with mystical powers who compels everyone she helps to rise up and fight against the militia. In the game, you alternately control Saki and Airan, two members of the resistance. Achi shared her blood with Saki to help him and that gave him incredible strength.

In the course of the game, basically everyone except Saki and Airan turn out to be bad. The militia turns out to be studying and encouraging the monsters, not actually destroying them. Saki turns into a mech-looking monster. Achi turns out to have given her blood to the leader of the militia, giving him super-powers. He in turn has shared it with and experimented on others. Airan goes inside Saki's head and fights monsters in the future with her daughter to regain his humanity. Achi gave her blood to the militia commander so he would create a big army which the new monster-Saki could fight. This huge battle would allow her to totally remake the earth to save her purpose and the final battle of the game is you protecting the old earth as the new earth attacks it.

Wacky story aside, the game is great fun to play. I managed to make it all the way through easy mode without getting a game over. The way the game works is that you start with some number of continues (3, I think) and for every 100 enemies you kill, you get another. On easy mode, I continued several times, but still had about three or four left over when I finished the game. Normal mode is proving to be a lot more difficult. I can only get through about half the game without getting the game over screen. I'm going to keep trying throughout the rest of the week to finish the game on normal.

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