Seafoam Gaming Recommendations: 3DS Virtual Console

The 3DS eShop is in its final days. Next year, both it and the Wii U eShop will go out with a fizzle. While the PSN shutdown was avoided, I managed to get out a couple of articles of recommendations for those storefronts before that was reverted, and while I do plan to eventually go back to the remaining PSN lists I was meaning to do, those were put on the backburner since those stores are no longer at risks of closure.

But these? Well, knowing Nintendo, their stance on the 3DS and Wii U stores is very unlikely to change, with credit card support ending in May, and shop cards come August. While the Wii U’s shop going down is pretty expected, the 3DS feels more like a surprise, considering how the last big game for the thing was only a few years ago, and the final retail game is to ship out in mere weeks from now. Thus, it’s time to do more lists, this time for eShop recommendations. Only the NA stores this time, as accessing foreign stories isn’t really easy for me to do on these platforms, and most stuff here is on multiple regions anyhow.

Today, we’re covering the 3DS Virtual Console! While the VC will never return due to the sales failure of the service, it sorta lives on through NSO… Still, a lot of these games are not on NSO, and some probably will never be! Thus, let’s pick out a couple of fun gems you should pick up now before the store shuts down a year from now….

Summer Carnival 92: RECCA (NES)

This caravan shooter was known for pushing the Famicom to the absolute extremes, and as one of my personal favorite scorechasers on VC, it’s a big shame this has never been reissued anywhere else. Not Wii U, not in a compilation, nor on NSO. Just a random release one week on 3DS, and that is it.

With the IP ownership having changed up since this reissue, I don’t think the current owner of this rare Naxat gem will find reason to put this out again, so be sure to nab this one if you’re a fan of vertical shooters! Even on the NES, this one is top-tier. Not to mention getting a physical cartridge of this is pretty pricey… Check out my retrospective on this game below!

The Sword of Hope II (GB)

“Wait, where’s the first one?!?” You may ask. Indeed, the original Sword of Hope came to the Japanese 3DS eShop, but… Skipped the US store since the EN translation is flat-out not owned by Kemco. The Seika portion of the company was the one that owned that translation, so the fully Kemco translated sequel is all we can get in the west.

Combining traditional RPG elements with the adventure style games Kemco ported to the NES, the Sword of Hope duology are pretty damn solid GB games, and this game was the one that took up a lot of my 2012 and 2013 Summers, and it was a great ride that while not having replay value, was worth playing through once at least. While modern Kemco is in the pit of pumping out whatever EXE-Create throws together in the span of a month, this gem is one of their RPGs that is very memorable, and I’d love if they got Hit-Point to do a full HD remake of the duology.

Catrap (GB)

My biggest gripe with 3DS Virtual Console is that the Game Boy/Color side of things barely got time to develop before being shelved, and thus, a lot of obscurities that could have been reissued ended up missing the jump. Somehow though, this absolute obscurity made it out in the first few months of the 3DS’ eShop.

A puzzler from Asmik, a publisher who seldom reissues their games in any way, this is an enhanced take on an old game known as Pitman. Said game is a pretty simplistic puzzler, tasking you with beating all the enemies on each stage, but this game is notable for letting you rewind messed up moves. As in, an in-game rewind years before emulation and future puzzles would make that commonplace. With 100 levels to go through, and a freaking stage editor with password sharing, this is a very cheap and very good puzzler worth picking up. This is another one I doubt we’ll see again for a long while.

Lufia: The Legend Returns (GBC)

I’ve sung the praises of this game before, and I’ll do it again. Everyone knows Pokemon Mystery Dungeon is my all time favorite franchise, and so anything akin to that is usually something that keeps my interest. With the big crime of Lufia II being rejected from the Wii U eShop, I was just hoping for Natsume to put out anything related to Lufia, either via the GBA/DS game on Wii U, or the GBC game on 3DS… And the latter did happen!

Ditching the traditional dungeons of the prior games, The Legend Returns turns every dungeon into a full blown MD-style experience. Traps, randomly generated floors, and even an optional dungeon with many, many floors, this final entry in the main Lufia story is an absolute must-own for any MD or PMD fans: the story, while poorly translated, is still pretty bold for a game from the 8-bit era, and I honestly admire some aspects of it still that I wish PMD would take some inspiration from plot-wise! While Chunsoft’s Shiren GB2 skipped the west, this game is a pretty decent substitute, and while Taito is in a release-happy mood as of late, who knows if Square Enix will give this particular entry any sort of attention ever again: if any Lufia reissues happen, I expect it to be 1/2 only, so get this one when you can!

Defenders of Oasis (GG)

Sega put out a few Game Gear games on the 3DS VC… And all of them bombed. Save for maybe like, the Sonic and Puyo games, these did horrible. So nobody even really got a chance to play these at all. I managed to buy all of these at launch, though, and of the ones not on any of the Game Gear Micro consoles, Defenders of Oasis is the one I think is the most worth buying.

A very obscure, Arabian-themed RPG adventure, this is a pretty darn fun game. It’s a pretty typical Dragon Quest like, yeah, and it’s only a few hours long, just under ten, but for a system that didn’t really have many RPGs, especially in the west, this is a very damn solid one worth picking up, especially since not many people picked this one up the second time around: might as well try to mitigate that before it goes back into obscurity forever.

And there we have it! Five 3DS VC games I picked, mainly as general recommendations to pick up before the store closes. I mainly tried to go for games I didn’t think would be reissued in some way, along with stuff people didn’t hear about in general. Still, even if you haven’t heard of some or all of these, I truly recommend you pick these all up! They were around for me in my teen years and provided dozens of hours of fun, and hopefully they help enhance all of your backlogs, too.

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