Sega Arcade Games on the Wii Virtual Console


Inspired by both the Hardcore Gaming 101 Sega Arcade Classics book and my recent acquisition of quite a few Wii Points, I decided to give all of the Sega arcade games available on the Wii Virtual Console a try. As with all Sega ports on the Wii Virtual Console, these arcade games were ported by developer M2, which means they have flawless emulation. In addition to the game-specific difficulty and control options (detailed below), these ports all contain a suspend mode (to resume where you left off) and most of them include a scanline option, making them arguably the definitive home console versions.

Altered Beast (1988)

alteredbeastvcWhile many players’ first experience with Altered Beast was the Genesis port, the arcade release remains the best version of the game out there. I don’t have much more to say about this game beyond what I said on the podcast.

Virtual Console options: Difficulty Setting, Power (number of health bars), Lives (which jump from 4 to the seemingly arbitrary 240), Demo Sound, Free Play
Controller options: Wii Remote, Classic Controller, GCN Controller

Golden Axe (1989)

goldenaxevcFrom the totally metal character select screen to the brilliant 4th-wall-breaking ending, Golden Axe is one of my favorite arcade games of all time. I love the music, the art design, and even the “borrowed” digitized screams. The game itself holds up quite nicely as well, with interesting enemies and tight controls. It’s also quite short, making it eminently replayable- and this is an excellent version to replay.

Virtual Console options: Difficulty, Demo Sound, Free Play
Controller options: Wii Remote, Classic Controller, GCN Controller

Shinobi (1987)

shinobivcWhile this port of Shinobi may offer free play, it’s still no cakewalk, as the game uses checkpoints, so if you die (such as at a boss), you have to replay that entire section again. The game is worth the effort though, as it offers fast action, tight controls, and a first-person ninja star throwing bonus stage not entirely unlike Takamaru’s Ninja Castle in Nintendo Land.

Virtual Console options: Lives (2-240!), Difficulty, Enemy Attack Speed, Language (JP or ENG), Demo Sound, Free Play
Controller options: Wii Remote, Classic Controller, GCN Controller

Space Harrier (1985)

spaceharriervcWhat else can be said about Space Harrier? The music, the action, the visuals, and the tech still hold up today. This version adds an option to use just the Nunchuck to move and fire by holding it vertically and moving it like an arcade stick (using the gyro motion tracking), which is an awesome and welcome addition. The Wii Virtual Console port is a simply fantastic version of one of the best Sega games ever. Buy it.

Virtual Console options: Lives, Difficulty, Demo Sound, Trial Time
Controller options: Wii Remote, Classic Controller, Nunchuck Style, GCN Controller

Super Hang-On (1987)

superhang-onvcThis Yu Suzuki classic arcade racer gets a new lease on life with a surprisingly cool added control option. By enabling Wii Wheel mode in the options, you can hold the Wii Remote on its side (or place it into a Wii Wheel) to play the game using the tilt controls! I don’t mean to be hyperbolic when I say that this is probably the closest you can get to having the arcade Super Hang-On experience in your home without actually buying an original cabinet, because really, it is.

Virtual Console options: Difficulty, Time Limit, Demo Sound
Controller options: Wii Remote, Classic Controller, Nunchuck Style, GCN Controller

Wonder Boy II (1987)

wonderboy2vcI fell in love with Wonder Boy II just moments into it, when I entered the first shop in the game and the keeper presented me with two options: cocktails or beer. From that point on I was a fan, charmed by the music, compelled by the (way ahead of its time) currency and upgrades system, and …accepting of the simple combat and slippery platforming. If you’ve never played a game in the Wonder Boy series, this is a great place to start!

Virtual Console options: Difficulty, Lives, Life Bonus, Demo Sound
Controller options: Wii Remote, Classic Controller, GCN Controller

Zaxxon (1982)

zaxxonPrior to the Virtual Console version, I had never actually played Zaxxon. Even with no history with the game, it’s easy to imagine how impressive it looked at the time, especially compared to its contemporaries. Not only does the unusual isometric perspective make Zaxxon stand out visually, but there is also quite a bit of detail in the backgrounds as well. As much as the perspective impresses, it unfortunately leads to some awkward gameplay. Lining up your ship is an imprecise affair; leading to missed shots and projectile dodges. The Xevious-esque depth changes add an extra layer of complexity, but also frustration. While historically significant, Zaxxon simply does not stand the test of time the way other Sega arcade games of the 80s do.

Virtual Console options: Lives, Extend (point amount to receive an extra life)
Controller options: Wii Remote, Classic Controller, GCN Controller

About ryan

This entry was posted in Altered Beast, Golden Axe, M2, Sega Digital Releases, Shinobi, Space Harrier, Super Hang-On, Wonder Boy, Yu Suzuki, Zaxxon and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sega Arcade Games on the Wii Virtual Console

  1. Pingback: Sega Digital Review – 3D Super Hang-On | Blue Skies Daily

  2. Hi There Ryan,
    Thanks you for your post, Growing upplaying nes from the time i was around4-7 then stepped up to the sega genisis and snes systems followed by the nintendo64 and gamecube, playstation, playstation two, xbox, xbox 360, nintendo wii along with many hand held game consoles and all throughout have always enjoyed arcade games. I belive over theyears watching the technological advancements has given me more of an appreciation for the thins that i have. Just wondering if anyone has tried or thinks this is a good idea to try. if so how well is it working.

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