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Monday July 16, 2007 2:49 pm

Virtual Console 7/16: Finally, We Get Paper Mario In The US

Paper Mario N64 strategy guideThe original Paper Mario – which was a straight-up RPG, unlike the recent Wii title – has finally made its way to the Virtual Console in the US. The timing of the release seems a bit odd – you would have thought it should have come out at the same time, if not prior to, Super Paper Mario did. Nevertheless, this was one of the best games on the N64 bar none, so make sure to pick it up for 1,000 Wii Points ($10).

The other two releases are both forgettable, however. Balloon Fight (500 points, NES) and Silent Debuggers (600 points, TurboGrafx16) aren’t worth their price tags, and by today’s standards, aren’t particularly good. Do the sensible thing; buy Paper Mario, and don’t waste any points on these two duds.

Paper Mario
Nintendo 64
1 player
Rated E for Everyone—Comic Mischief
1,000 Wii Points
Paper Mario is a graphically innovative game that breaks from the confines of the RPG genre. Now slimmed down, everyone’s favorite plumber flips, spins, jumps and hammers his way through scads of exotic worlds that teem with a huge and hugely entertaining supporting cast. Players control numerous old and new characters in a complex, nonlinear story that follows different scenarios depending on player choices. A dizzying collection of spells, attacks, skills and special items can be collected by players willing to thoroughly explore the lush 3-D environments.

Balloon Fight
NES
1-2 players
Rated E for Everyone
500 Wii Points
Control a character to pop your opponents’ balloons before they pop yours. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Don’t be fooled by this game’s simple premise or cute exterior. Underneath you’ll find a surprisingly addictive game with strategy to spare. After mastering the easy-to-learn controls, you still have to get a grip on the game’s impressively realistic physics. And if that’s not enough, there are the ever-increasing enemies and environmental hazards like lightning and water. Try the game’s second mode, Balloon Trip, if you feel like taking a break from the action and just want to see how long you can stay aloft. And hey, who doesn’t like popping balloons sometimes?

Silent Debuggers
TurboGrafx16
1 player
Rated E for Everyone—Fantasy Violence
600 Wii Points
Make your way through a dungeon-like space station and defeat the prowling monsters in this real-time first-person shooter. You’re a member of the elite Debuggers, a group of warriors who are jacks-of-all-trades. Assigned to inspect an unmanned space station, you have exactly 100 minutes to get in, destroy the monsters lurking in each block, make your way to the lowest level and deactivate the automatic detonator placed there. With each monster that slips by you, the core block becomes harder to survive in, so speed is key in preserving the facility and each separate block. Experience the thrill of survival as the timer ticks away and you uncover the truth of the events that occurred.

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