Cary’s Best of DS, Part 5: Arcade Collections and Classic Remakes

With the upcoming launch of the 3DS in the US, I wanted to take a look back at my favorite games on the DS now that the handheld is in its twilight years. Last time on this blog series, we took at look at my favorite puzzlers and causal games. Since I love these next kinds of games, this time we’ll look at my favorite DS arcade collections and classic remakes!

Arkanoid DS

This one got really tepid reviews, but I thought it was GREAT! My dad and I used to love to play this Breakout update in the arcade and on the NES. In Japan, the DS Arkanoid could work with a special paddle controller. I found one cheap, so I imported one. It’s pink, but I don’t care. But I was disappointed that the US version doesn’t work with the paddle. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. I would be more upset about this, but the touch screen controls worked really well. I also thought the music was fantastic, especially for a DS game. Taito’s in-house music group, Zuntata, was in rare form and I enjoyed the music so much, I imported the soundtrack! I also liked how you could customize the game visuals and sound effects with unlockables. Want to play the first stage with Darius music, a Legend of Kage 2 background with a green paddle, Bubble Bobble blocks, and with dolphin sound effects? You can here! So if you can find Arkanoid DS, I highly recommend you snag it right there!

There were lots of other decent Taito remakes and updates on the DS. None were really list-worthy, but still pretty good in their own right. Probably the best one was Space Invaders Extreme and its sequel, but I liked the XBLA version better. Other neat ones included New Zealand Story Revolution, Labyrinth (also known as Cameltry or On the Ball), and Legend of Kage 2. Too bad the two DS Bubble Bobble games sucked. One of them even had a bug in it that wouldn’t let you get past stage 40! That was Bubble Bobble Revolution, but the one after that, Double Shot, was bad, too.

Retro Game Challenge

I talked about this game once already when I listed my favorite import games, but it’s worth mentioning again here. In Japan this game is based on a TV show where a comedian plays really hard old games with silly results. The game has several retro styled games that would’ve fit real well in the NES group, but none of them are actual real games, just made up for this collection! And they’re all really fun, too. I would imagine myself renting any one of these games back in the day. Some of the games include a Galaga clone, a top down racer, a Dragon Warrior-ish RPG, and the finale is a really fun platformer that’s like a cross between Ninja Gaiden and Mega Man! Best of all, the game really captures how we played games back then. In the game, you can thumb through made-up game magazines looking for codes, and play with a fictional friend watching you the whole time. I liked it so much, I imported the sequel. Too bad the second game never came out over here, but if you want to play the first (and I highly recommend you do), you can probably find it real cheap!

Chrono Trigger

This was a port of the SNES classic, but on the DS they did an excellent job with it! Absolutely the definitive version of the game to have. It even has the animated scenes from the PSOne update, and extra stuff to find and do, too. There were a ton of SNES ports on GBA, but after seeing how well Chrono Trigger worked on DS, I almost wished they would’ve saved some of the 16-bit ports for the DS instead of GBA. Especially Yoshi’s Island and Final Fantasy 6.

Final Fantasy Remakes

Speaking of which, I have to talk about Square-Enix’s FF remakes as well. They’re great games, but believe it or not, I didn’t get into them as much as I thought I would. I never liked the job system, so FF3 wasn’t as appealing to me. And even though FF4 is one of my favorite RPGs, the DS version was just way too hard and it didn’t feel like FF4 to me because of it. Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light was an interesting idea, but it didn’t have much to do with Final Fantasy. Really my favorite FF game on the DS was Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Tales. It was a touch screen mini-game collection with cute FF characters like the Chocobo. Not the best game in the world, but I enjoyed it anyway. Plus it had a neat little card battle game in it that I liked because it was so simple!

Dig Dug Digging Strike

I thought it was clever how they combined the gameplay of Dig Dug 1 and 2 in this game. Plus they used the artwork from the Mr. Driller games. Mr. Driller himself helps out his dad in this game (Susumu’s dad is Taizo, the character from Dig Dug). And he helps out with classic game references like Rally-X and Xevious. Plus, the music and 16-bit style graphics made me feel like I was playing a fun SNES game, and so I really enjoyed it.

Legacy of Ys Books 1 and 2

It’s not the best version of Ys 1 and 2 around, but I really got into it anyway for some reason. I liked how they added an option to use a button for attacking instead of just running to enemies. The PSP version doesn’t have that, and I think it suffers because of it.

Metroid Prime Pinball

What I appreciated about this game was they made it be a pinball game first, and a Metroid game second. They didn’t add a corny story on how Samus had to go to the Pinball planet to defeat Metroids. It’s just a straight up pinball experience with Metroid Prime themes, locations, and characters. Also, I hear it was made by the same folks who worked on my favorite video pinball series, the Pro Pinball games (such as Big Race USA).

Namco Museum DS

There were a lot of great arcade collections on DS. The Konami one, the Intellivision collection, and even a couple of recent Atari volumes (just don’t get the old one that came out when the DS was first released, it sucks). But I’m going to give special mention to Namco Museum DS, because of one game only: Pac-Man Vs. This was originally a GameCube multiplayer Pac-Man game where up to four players could be Pac-Man and the ghosts, and all competed for points. On the GameCube, it used the GBA link cables, so it was rather cumbersome. But the DS version is perfect for this type of game, and you only need one cart to play it! I would’ve paid full price for Pac-Man Vs. on DS alone! Makes me wonder why Nintendo never put a full Four Swords Zelda game on DS!

And those are my favorite arcade collections and remakes. In the comments section, let me know your favorite classic updates on DS. Next time will be my final ‘Best of DS’ blog, and we’ll take a look at weird and wacky games that I just couldn’t put in any other category. Also, I’ll give tribute to my all-time favorite DS game series, which also falls in that miscellaneous category. See if you can guess what that series is in the comments section, too! Later!

No Responses to “Cary’s Best of DS, Part 5: Arcade Collections and Classic Remakes”

  1. I just posted this on your 1up blog, but I’ll mention it here, too.

    The Japanese Paddle Controller definitely works with the American version of Arkanoid DS. When you turn on the system, the main menu should say, “There is a DS Option Pak inserted.” When you start the game, a warning screen will immediately come up to tell you that control will shift to the d-pad if the Paddle Controller is removed during gameplay.

    From there, you simply pick your game mode and choose “Paddle” as your controller type. Once you do that, you have full paddle control. I’m actually testing this as I type with my US copy of Arkanoid DS and my (silver) Japanese Paddle Controller, so I’m not mis-remembering something.

    The Paddle Controller also works with the US version of Space Invaders Extreme and Space Invaders Extreme 2.

    If your Paddle Controller isn’t working, well, there’s probably a reason you found it for cheap.

  2. My import paddle will not work on Arkanoid DS, BUT it will work with the Space Invaders Extreme games.

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