Alien Crush (Virtual Console TG16)
This is the first video pinball game that wasn’t really trying to be a shadow of arcade pinball, spawning a new genre in which the gameplay couldn’t be emulated in real machines due to the use of creatures running around on the table and special bonus screens accessed by opening doors on the playfield. Classic and still a lot of fun to play all these years later. An updated sequel recently released on WiiWare in the form of Alien Crush Returns.
Altered Beast (Virtual Console Arcade)
There is a Megadrive port of this which has been out for quite some time, but the arcade version is the one to get. Great side-scrolling beat-em-up action with the addition of power-ups that turn you into a different beast-man on each level. Controls are customisable as is typical of Sega VCA releases; since the game uses three buttons the Classic Controller is strongly recommended. You can also toggle the life bar and number of lives.
Assault (Virtual Console Arcade)
Currently only available in Japan, Assault is a classic top-down tank game which used two sticks for control in the arcades. Unlike other dual-stick tank games like Battle Zone or Vindicators, this game really requires two sticks to maneuver the tank and fire special mortars so it only supports the Classic Controller.
I find the control to be spot on, though the CC is a bit awkward to hold and use both sticks with fluency. Using the Classic Controller Pro will give you better results due to the handles; despite the fact that the Z-buttons aren’t used for anything but inserting coins in Namco VCA titles, which sadly cannot be remapped. As with other Namco VCA offerings, you can change the score required to earn extra lives as well as the number of starting lives and which of the other (non-Z) button(s) fire the main gun.
Balloon Fight (Virtual Console NES)
Basically Nintendo’s version of Joust, but with enough game differences to let it stand on its own merits. Your character is supported by balloons; by pressing the button you flap his arms so he can move about the screen to try landing on enemy balloons to drop enemies into the sea below. A great alternate mode sees you trying to get your character as far as possible through an ongoing series of obstacles whilst great theme music plays. Not to be missed!
Bare Knuckle II (Virtual Console MD)
Sold as “Streets of Rage” outside of Japan, this is the second in a series of side-scrolling beat-em-up games for the Megadrive – basically Sega’s version of Final Fight. It’s not as pretty as Capcom’s definitive title in the genre, but until that appears in the VCA this is a very nice substitute.
Bomberman ’93 (Virtual Console TG16)
There have been many Bomberman titles, but the later 8-bit ones (including the arcade) are the best. I really enjoy the single-player mode, though the bosses are a bit more challenging than in the arcade due to the fact that continuing starts boss fights over from the beginning.
Bonanza Bros. (Virtual Console MD)
A game that originally appeared in the arcade in a System 24 cabinet. Quality pre-rendered 3D visuals and appealing character design make this a nice game to watch as well as play. There’s a radar at the top of the screen; coupled with the game’s theme around burgling people it reminds me of Activision’s classic Atari game Keystone Capers. The port is good quality and it’s a fun little game.
Chelnov (Virtual Console MD)
A rare example of a console port that actually has superior visuals to the arcade original. Plays the same and has the same music, but looks much nicer than the arcade – you can actually see detail on the enemies! A quality side-scrolling action-platformer that’s notable for giving players the ability to face backwards to fight enemies in both directions. This game was sold as Atomic Runner elsewhere, and is currently only available for the VC in Japan, probably due to rights issues surrounding former Data East properties like this one.
Crack Down (Virtual Console MD)
Another Sega System 24 port this is a top-down action game where 1 or 2 players must place bombs in specific locations of an enemy base and leave before they detonate. Many enemies and power-ups to be found and great gameplay. The Megadrive port is excellent and worth getting in the absence of the arcade original.