Sega Virtual Console bounty arrives as promised a year ago

On the heels of Super Street Fighter II (again) coming to the Virtual Console (but now with online play!), Sega have put out three more releases over the last couple of Thursdays, with at least one of them being kind of a big deal in some gaming circles. Yesterday saw another two Wonder Boy/Monster World titles make their appearance: the arcade title Wonder Boy in Monster Land, whose Sega Master System port has been available for some time; and Monster World IV, a 1994 Sega Genesis game, the final game in the series to date, and which makes its Western debut with this release. Not only is it another VC import title, but Sega have actually gone through the trouble of translating the whole thing, making it another Virtual Console first five and a half years into the Wii’s lifespan. I’ve played a bit of it today and it’s lovely- like a polished Zelda II in some ways.

Rewinding a bit, last week saw the release of the arcade version of Super Hang-On, a motorcycle racer similar to OutRun except instead of branching paths one chooses from one of four continentally-based courses at the beginning featuring various stages in each. This one sees yet another first, or two firsts in one really, for the Virtual Console: (1)motion controls (2)via the nunchuk. All three new titles are 900 points each.

Why go through all the trouble now? Well, as noted in the announcement from a year ago,these titles aren’t just being released on Virtual Console. Compared to most other companies Sega has a fairly extensive history of bringing their arcade and Genesis/Master System back catalog to a variety of platforms (including the PC- oddly, while they were still in the hardware business.) This is just another brick in that strategy, though it certainly comes at an odd time for the Wii; the choice to add features, while appreciated, makes one remember how such things were hoped for at the outset but didn’t pan out until now. Maybe there will be some surprises in store in this area when the Wii U makes the scene. A man can dream…

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